Online gambling firms are being told to review the terms and conditions they have in place before action is stepped up in the New Year to ensure consumers are treated fairly.
This announcement comes as a result of joint work with Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), into unfair terms and misleading practices by online gambling businesses. The CMA has found that many online gambling operators could be breaking consumer protection law, through terms and conditions of bonus promotions that are not clear and instances where they have restricted customer rights and ability to access their own money and winnings.
In relation to promotional offers, some of the concerns include (1):
- Restrictions on customers being able to withdraw their deposit balance and any winnings generated from deposits.
- Consumers being unable to clearly distinguish between play with the bonus balance and the deposit balance, in particular, which balance they are about to play and the terms applicable.
- Promotion specific play restrictions (eg maximum bet sizes, weighted wagering game requirements) which are not set out clearly to consumers, reserve excessive discretion to the operator, and which can have serious consequences for consumers, including the confiscation of deposits and winnings.
- Significant conditions in relation to promotions are, more generally, not being provided to consumers in a clear, timely, transparent, non-misleading and prominent manner.
- In relation to free bets, operators are not honouring these, despite customers having already placed one or more qualifying bets under the promotion.
- Terms which assume consumers have consented to the use of any personal information (including their name) for promotional purposes for the benefit of the operator.
Gambling Commission Executive Director Sarah Gardner, said: “It is of paramount importance that consumers are empowered to make informed choices about their gambling and that the information available about their rights is correct and clear to them.
“The CMA’s findings have indicated that currently there is an imbalance between gambling firms and consumers – too often weighted in the favour of the operator. The CMA has set out its concerns to the gambling industry – this sets out clearly the changes which online gambling operators need to make to ensure promotions and practices are compliant with consumer protection law.
We have been making it clear to the industry that they need to get their house in order on this. The CMA has now set out clearly its concerns so there is no excuse for operators not to act urgently in the interests of consumers. We plan to step up action in the New Year to ensure that consumers are being treated fairly.”
Sarah adds: “Too often we have found that the terms and conditions have been complicated, one-sided and difficult to understand. Addressing this is a priority in our recently launched strategy – a roadmap for a fairer, and safer gambling market. Our work over the next three years will include ensuring greater transparency from gambling firms in the information they make available to their customers and we’ll be working with the industry to ensure that consumers can make decisions about their gambling more confidently. ”
Speaking to gambling firms at the Gambling Commission’s annual Raising Standards conference yesterday, the CMA gave advance warning of the changes operators are expected to make following its investigation into a number of gambling businesses.
See the CMA presentation slides and view a video (below) of the speech delivered at the conference.
The CMA will publish the findings once enforcement activity into a number of gambling operators has concluded.
Armenian parliament adopts bill on gambling in the first reading
The Armenia National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt the draft law on making amendments in the law on combating terrorism in the first reading at today’s sitting.
The parliament fully adopted the draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on the “RA Investigative Committee” and the attached package of draft laws in the second reading with a vote of 85 for and 7 against.
The issue of adopting the draft law on making addendum to the Criminal Code initiated by MPs Karen Avagyan and Hrayr Tovmasyan in the second reading was also put up to voting.
The bill passed overwhelmingly the parliament’s second reading. In a speech ahead of the voting, Tsarukyan faction MP Naira Zohrabyan voiced the faction’s intention to support the bill in the second reading since the proposals submitted by the bloc over the measure had been accepted.
The Armenian parliament also overwhelmingly voted to adopt the draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on energy and the attached bill package in the first reading.
The draft law on making amendments and supplements in the law on “Games of Chance, Online Games of Chance and Casinos” and the attached package passed the parliament’s first reading, receiving a total of 93 votes in favour.
The National Assembly also fully adopted the law on the Constitutional Court and the attached draft package in the second reading with 87 votes for and 7 against.
Play’n Go launches Mystery Joker 6000
Omni-channel slots specialist Play’n Go has reinvigorated the much-loved fruit slot in its latest title Mystery Joker 6000.
The three-wheel, five-payline game delivers the same classical symbols known to slots fans, with the introduction of the Joker symbol which triggers free spins and big wins on finding it.
When players land a Joker on a payline that runs across reels one and two, the third will re-spin while the rest are held, and if a third Joker is found, the innovative mystery wheel feature is triggered, potentially paying out up to 6000 times the current coin value.
Mystery Joker 6000 allows players to transfer winnings from the main game into the super meter mode, where bets cost double but wins even bigger, and with the mystery wheel even easier to find.
Landing three jokers randomly across the reels in the base game will pay out randomly up to 6000 times the coin value, with three on the one payline automatically awarding the full 6000 times to the player.
Significantly, super meter mode offers an RTP of over 100%, hugely attractive to players looking for consistent wins, and unique for what appears to be a traditional fruit slot.
Johan Törnqvist, chief executive officer of Play’n Go, said: “The traditional fruit slot has been a mainstay of the casino space for decades with players loving its simplicity and regular payouts.
“We’ve decided to add the Play’n Go creative touch to the classic and reinvigorate the genre for today’s player, and we’re sure they’ll enjoy Mystery Joker 6000’s much-improved gameplay.
“The Super Meter mode will offer players constant choice between big wins or potentially even greater ones should they feel lucky, particularly as the Mystery Wheel will come into play when finding just two Jokers.”
Mystery Joker 6000 marks Play’n Go’s final release of an award-winning year, which has seen it launch 60 new titles across various genres. It’s set to build on this in 2018, with a product roadmap in place that will see even more innovative and enjoyable slot releases.
Hard Rock details Maldives plan
The casino operator announced its plans to expand its portfolio in the Maldives.
Hard Rock International revealed yesterday its plans to expand its portfolio with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Hard Rock Cafe Maldives. The operator is set to participate in what will be the first integrated resort in the Maldives.
The facility that will be located within one of the Maldives’ largest lagoons, Emboodhoo Falhu, is expected to debut in October 2018. The first phase of the development includes a US$311 million investment that expected to boost tourism, and offer new services like hotels, entertainment and retails. Hard Rock Hotel Maldives is set to be part of the three resorts included in the project, and will include 178 guest rooms, family suites and beach villas.
Todd Hricko, senior vice president, head of global hotel development for Hard Rock, said: “Known for its vibrant culture, top-of-the-line luxury and some of the most breathtaking white-sand beaches in the world, Maldives is truly a slice of paradise and one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Traditionally regarded as being a popular honeymoon destination, we at Hard Rock are excited to work with the Singha Estate team to captivate multi-generational travelers, showcasing that the destination can cater to more than just newlyweds.”
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