UK Gambling Commission Wants More Punitive Powers

Watchdog wants powers to impose fines for advertising contraventions by operators

The Telegraph newspaper reported Thursday that the UK Gambling Commission is seeking new powers to fine bookmakers for breaches of advertising regulations as part of a wide-ranging consultation aimed at better protecting consumers.

Part of the watchdog’s argument is that it needs such powers in order to raise gambling advertising standards through the viable threat of punitive action. Gambling advertising and sports sponsorship is one of several high profile gambling issues in the UK at present, generating media coverage that is not always positive.

Among the Commission’s objectives is the prevention of email or text marketing spam.

Neither the Commission or the Advertising Standards Authority currently have power to fine transgressors, although they can publicly rebuke operators for contraventions. There have been non-advertising issues with operators where the Commission has agreed to substantial financial settlements, but the power to impose hefty fines will strengthen the regulator’s hand.

The need for additional powers, along with consumer protection and a more effective player disputes system, is the subject of a consultation open until April 22 in which consumers, gambling businesses and industry experts are being asked to contribute.

Sarah Gardner, the Commission’s executive director, said: “We are proposing these changes because of the risk of consumer harm, concern about lack of compliance with consumer protection legislation, declining public trust in gambling and concerns about advertising.”

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Brian Cullingworth

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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