UK Gambling Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for October 05, 2018

New Rules On Disputes From UK Gambling Commission

Guidance for third party Alternative Dispute Resolution providers

The UK Gambling Commission kicked off the week Monday with a communication on an important issue – new regulations for third-party Alternative Dispute Resolution providers mediating in disputes between online gambling operators and players.

The new regulations come into force at the end of this (October) month and follow three years of preparation in which the Commission has vetted and approved suitable ADR providers capable of fairly and impartially mediating in operator-player issues.

Operators are required to appoint an approved ADR provider in cases where they have been unable to satisfactorily resolve a dispute with a player despite trying for a period of 8 weeks.

The regulations require ADR providers to ensure consumers are aware of their rights to demand “arguments, evidence, documents and facts put forward by the other party” to the dispute.

The regulations also address and give guidance on the subject of both reimbursement and compensation for the player, urging providers to consider the “emotional or practical impact on the consumer, rather than punishing the business.”

Factors involved in such an assessment include “stress or physical or mental suffering” to the player, along with the inconvenience and time factors involved in the issue, and any danger to the player’s reputation.

The extent of the impact of operator’s actions on the player in regard to these factors should be the general guide on compensation decisions, although the Commission warns that in the majority of cases compensation over and above reimbursement will probably not be entertained.

The Commission urges ADR providers to adhere to the UK Ombudsman Association’s six principles of good governance, and expects ADR providers to “be transparent about and make public information on how it is funded, and how it is independent.”

Other provisions deal with potential conflicts of interest where an ADR provider has a dual relationship with an operator, for example in cases where the ADR is also an official of a trade association.

In these cases the ADR provider is required to show that there is no conflict in the relationships. Where potential conflict exists, is must be flagged and the player referred to another ADR provider unburdened by the conflict.

In administrative provisions, ADR providers must record and publish information on the number of disputes they receive, how many they reject, the average time taken to handle disputes, and details on how the disputes were resolved (ie in favour of the player or the operator, or simply settled equitably).

Once appointed ADR providers are required to respond to a player complaint within three working days, providing informative updates on the dispute every 30 days until resolution.

Interestingly, ADR’s are also required to maintain a website with full information on how to lay a complaint, and information on the provider’s performance in the field.

The ADR’s statistical information on disputes handled must be shared with the Commission to aid it in monitoring the industry and the conduct of its licensees.

In a clearly problem gambling precautionary provision, ADRs are advised to assess whether the demeanour, actions or language used by the player may be an indicator of a deeper gambling problem where said gambler may be vulnerable and need additional support or guidance.

Avoid The Gathering Advertising Storm, Says Commission Director

Warning to the UK industry regarding responsible advertising

A director of the UK Gambling Commission issued a clear caution whilst addressing the Responsible Marketing for Gambling Operators event this week – listen to what the public is saying and put responsible advertising standards at the very heart of your business.

Criticising the standards of betting adverts, along with the volume of television advertising and the amount of adverts that appeal to under-18s, Ian Angus warned: “My advice to you is this: a storm is gathering, but it can be avoided. Learn from the mistakes of the past – listen to what the public is saying and put responsible advertising standards at the very heart of your business.

“Don’t wait for the storm clouds to burst and precautionary measures to be triggered. Step up now and own this.”

The director’s warning follows increasingly aggressive anti-gambling rhetoric from the Labour Party, who’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson recently suggested that a Labour government in power would seriously consider a wide ban on gambling advertising during televised sporting events.

B2B Provider Licence Granted To G.I.G. By UK Gambling Commission

Empowers company to offer its new sports betting services to its existing white label customers as well as external brands operating in the UK market

Gaming Innovation Group has been granted permission for B2B sports betting in the UK by the Gambling Commission.

The B2B licence complements GiG’s existing software and B2C licence in the UK and will enable the company to offer its new sports betting services to existing white label customers as well as external brands operating in the UK market.

GiG’s sports betting portfolio consists of three modules which can be integrated as standalone products or bundled together with GIG Core for a complete solution. These include:

GiG Sports Connect – Proprietary odds and aggregated odds and data service
GiG Trader – State-of-the art trading tools and risk management platform
GiG Goal – Mobile-first front end and middleware solution

Rizk.com will be the first of GiG’s internal operators to use the company’s sportsbook products and offering in the UK.