Recent months have seen the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) become increasingly tougher towards those who they have granted licences to. July 7 saw them suspend the licence given to Bet-at-Home. This suspension will continue until a review of the betting site has been carried out.
Why have the UKGC taken this action against Bet-at-Home? The decision was made due to there possibly being activities being carried out that go against the rules set out in the 2005 Gambling Act.
Their concerns include suspected anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings. Those are areas that the UKGC have been imposing fines on, including one of £9.15m to 888 earlier this year.
The UKGC said of the suspension: “We have made it clear to the operator that during the course of the suspension, we expect it to focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them.”
Bet-at-Home customers in the UK will still be able to access their accounts. Withdrawals will also be possible but not the ability to make deposits or place bets.
This action by the UKGC illustrates the importance of always registering with a site that holds a licence. Whether it be the UKGC, the Malta Gaming Authority or any regulatory body, the work they do is important when it comes to protecting gamblers.
While the wait continues for the UK government White Paper into the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, the UKGC are tightening their rules. There will be new rules to follow by licence holders when it comes to dealing with those customers who are showing signs of gambling harm.
A betting site that is unregulated will be able to act in a manner that is not in the interests of their members. They can have welcome offers and promotions with unfair terms and conditions attached. Not encrypting personal details or supplying information about responsible gambling may also be in place. There may also be problems in how long it takes them to pay out winnings.
It is therefore important to carry out some research before registering with a gambling site, including checking if it is licenced. Sportytrader recognises the importance of registering with online sports betting companies that are licenced and regulated, therefore giving customers a high degree of protection.
The months ahead are not going to be easy for the UK gambling industry. The White Paper that is due to be released is unlikely to be an enjoyable read for them. Measures such as restrictions on the maximum stake at online casinos and increased affordability checks are likely to be included.
It’s all part of the ongoing campaign to protect gamblers, especially vulnerable ones. The suspension of the Bet-at-Home licence and recent heavy fines may just be the lull before the storm. The UKGC will continue to do their best to ensure those holding a licence do not break the rules. If they do, then this suspension of Bet-at-Home may not be the last one that takes place.