The UK Gambling Commission has issued a reminder to licensees of the expectations to be upheld when incumbents leave the market, stressing that consumers should not be disadvantaged as a result.
Stating that “one of the principles of our regulation is that gambling should be fair and open,” the regulator highlighted a trio of expectations to all licence holders.
As well as conducting business with integrity and maintaining adequate financial resources, having due regard to the interests of consumers and treating them fairly was also emphasised.
Acknowledging a variety of reasons for gambling organisations leaving the UK market the UKGC has set out clear expectations, which applies to licensed businesses in the high street and online, in addition to individuals holding personal management licences.
Commenting on expectations of business on an ongoing basis, the Commission set out the following points:
- Be aware of their liabilities and check they can cover these.
- Warn consumers placing long-term bets that their stakes and winnings are not secured in the event of insolvency.
- Give consumers information about the level of funds protection in place, which is a requirement of licence conditions.
Before issuing further advice on expectations should a business decide to close:
- Provide clear and concise information to consumers.
- Show they are in control of the situation by keeping consumers updated and giving information on any potential routes for redress. Communication should include all available means including direct contact and wider messages on social media.
- Discharge all their liabilities to their consumers whenever possible.
Issuing further comments on its advice to industry businesses, the authority stated: “Even where a business becomes insolvent, we still may act against both the operating licensee and any relevant personal management licensees if there have been failings.
“We will also consider a licensee’s conduct in any future licence application they make. If we consider there has been wrongdoing, such as fraud or illegal trading, we can refer this to the relevant enforcement agency.
“We expect all gambling businesses to have plans in place and take steps to make sure that consumers are not unnecessarily disadvantaged if they do have to close for whatever reason. The best outcome for consumers will depend on the specific circumstances. If a business is insolvent (unable to pay its debts) then it cannot legally carry on trading.”