Gambling firms could face fines for advertising breaches
The Gambling Commission is seeking the powers to fine operators over breaches of advertising rules as well as tackling the issue of spam marketing.
The industry regulator has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the rules relating to gambling marketing and advertising, unfair terms, and complaints and disputes.
Gambling advertising has become an increasingly controversial subject but, while the Advertising Standards Authority has a number of sanctions at its disposal to deal with breaches of the rules, financial punishments are not among them.
The Gambling Commission is proposing that in future any firm breaching advertising codes could be subject to the full range of its powers, including fines.
The consultation said: "If we consider that licensees, or affiliates acting on their behalf, are in serious or repeated breach of the rules, we will not hesitate to apply the full range of our regulatory powers, which includes financial penalties."
Eight-week time limit
The gambling sector has been been identified as being in the top three most complained about sectors for sending spam text messages to UK consumers and the consultation also addresses this issue.
Rule changes would "require operators to ensure that they do not send marketing e-communications without the specific, informed and withdrawable consent of the recipient".
The consultation also proposes bringing in an eight-week time limit for operators to deal with gambling complaints and disputes, as well as strengthening customer protection and making information more understandable.
Gambling Commission executive director Sarah Gardner said: "We are proposing these changes because of the risk of consumer harm, concern about lack of compliance with consumer protection legislation, declining public trust in gambling and concerns about advertising.
"We’re very keen to hear the views of all those with an interest in the gambling industry."
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