Why Casinos should be careful when creating promotional offers

So what is the objective of this review, and what will it ultimately mean for operators in the UK? Let's take a look:

What have the UKGC said?
This pledge emerged on the back of a brand new report commissioned by The Competition and Market Authority (CMA), which revealed that some established gambling operators had broken the rules on consumer protection. More specifically, the report suggested that some had applied "onerous and unfair" terms to promotional offers while also failing to deliver a concise or accurate message to gamblers.

Perhaps the most important point here is the alleged use of unclear bonus terms, which have the potential to mislead players and ultimately cause them to endure a negative experience online. This is clearly opposed to the purpose of the UKGC and their new strategy objectives, while it also has the potential to see operators sanctioned heavily in the months ahead.

Another issue is the structure of some bonus packages, which place significant restrictions on customers who want to access the money that they've won online. Many of these promotions require players to place additional wagers before they can withdraw their winnings, with this practice having been deemed as unfair and non-compliant by the CMA.

The third and final point of contention is the vagueries of the so-called 'play with bonus' balance, which is entirely different to a customer's depsoit balance and often causes confusion among players. This, along with the failure of some operators to clearly lay out the maximum betting restrictions in their terms and conditions, has had a detrimental impact on some customer experiences and forced the CMA to make a series of strong recommendations to the UKCG in a bid to enhance the online gambling experience nationwide.

What does this Mean for Operators?
The report does not reveal any specific details of infringements, nor is there any suggestion that operators have deliberately taken steps to mislead their customers. Instead, this is an example of the UKGC's renewed customer focus, with every aspect of operation likely to be hit by new regulatory measures over the course of the next 18 months and beyond.

In the short-term, operators will be forced to ensure that their promotional offers are laid-out clearly and concisely, while any restrictions on withdrawing bonus winnings are also likely to be removed. Similarly, betting thresholds will need to be advertised more clearly going forward, so there's a clear sense of transparency for players who are active online.
We may also find that operators are compelled to include a higher frequency of responsible gambling messages across all promotional offers, in order to ensure that they're not inadvertantly targeting vulnerable gambler online.

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