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Casino Regulations in the United Kingdom & Consumer Rights

If you are considering playing online casino games, there are some important things you need to consider before parting with your hard-earned cash. A good place to start is the rules and regulations governing the sector and how these link to those all-important consumer rights.

Licensing & Regulation

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is responsible for licensing and regulating each of the companies who operate in the industry.

Casinos are required to meet pre-determined standards to gain a license which cover elements such as security, fairness and player protection.

The information must be clearly advertised on an operator’s site and contain links to where those details can be verified with the regulator.

Know Your Customer

One of the key regulatory elements in the casino sector is the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which requires operators to know that players on their sites are legitimate.

KYC is made up of three different components – Customer Identification Program (CIP), Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Continuous Monitoring (CM).

CIP requires players to prove their identity and home address. This stage is known for having the biggest impact of casino regulations on withdrawal speed at casinos.

Most reputable operators complete this process in a timely manner, but some request further information from customers which can delay withdrawal requests.

CDD and CM are linked to risk assessments, which operators must undertake to ensure you are gambling safely and to prevent money laundering or other fraudulent activities.

Age Restrictions

Generally speaking, players must be at least 18-years-old to gamble in the UK. However, people between 16-18 can legally purchase National Lottery products.

They can also participate in society lotteries and football pools. There are no age restrictions on Category D games machines, which include fruit machines, pushers and cranes.

Advertising Standards

The UKGC has collaborated with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to establish strict rules governing gambling-related advertising.

Casino operators must ‘take care with the use of imagery, wording and characters used in marketing communications’ particularly in relation to their appeal to younger people.

Responsible gambling is also a core element of advertising standards. For example, operators must not encourage people to gamble more than they can afford to lose.

Gambling advertising content must also avoid painting a picture that winning is guaranteed, can be a solution to financial concerns or an alternative to employment.

Safer Gambling

As previously mentioned, the UKGC is eager to foster a culture where responsible gambling underpins how casinos in the sector operate.

Their stated aim is ‘to ensure that gambling businesses follow the rules when promoting gambling products and interacting with customers’.

If those companies fail to adhere to the rules, or players have concerns about how they are being run, the UKGC has the power to investigate and take action if necessary.

The UKGC also works closely with regulators in other jurisdictions, welfare charities and support organisations to ensure that gambling in the UK is safe for everyone.

Consumer Rights

Unlike dealing with a financial institution, there are no consumer protections in place if a gambling operator goes bust. Effectively, every player gambles at their own risk.

However, to obtain the requisite gambling license, operators must demonstrate to the regulator that they have implemented other adequate player protections.

This must include a complaints procedure which must be clearly defined in the terms and conditions linked to a player’s gambling account.

As with any type of consumer complaint, you must provide the operator with detailed reasons about your complaint to ensure they can investigate properly.

Players must share any evidence to support the complaint and keep a copy of all correspondence. In some cases, you may need to submit complaints by post rather than email.

The gambling operator has up to eight weeks to resolve the complaint from when they receive it. However, many operators respond faster than this.

They will tell you the result of your complaint and what happens next when they have concluded the investigation. This should include an escalation process if you are not satisfied with the outcome.

Once you have exhausted the operator’s complaints procedure, you can raise the with an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider.

One of the most popular complaints resolution services is Resolver. This free service aims to provide better outcomes for consumers and companies embroiled in disputes.

Resolver works with ombudsmen and regulators to help you achieve a resolution. While the service is completely online, it is renowned for resolving issues in the gambling sector.

The company also has extremely strong links with some of the UK’s leading consumer rights experts, broadcasters and advice groups.

If the complaints process and ADR provider fails to resolve your query satisfactorily, the 2005 Gambling Act allows you to take your issue to court.

Casino Regulations in the United Kingdom & Consumer Rights