Learn lessons over unfair betting terms, regulator warns
The Gambling Commission has told gambling operators to learn from failings admitted by two companies responsible for a row over treatment of customers during last year's Cheltenham Festival.
TGP Europe Ltd, who run 12bet, TLCbet and Fun88, and Fesuge Ltd, responsible for 138.com, accepted that their terms and conditions in the case were unfair and not clear.
Thousands of their customers had winning bets cancelled after being accused of abusing bonus offers during Cheltenham last March.
TGP and Fesuge suspended more than 5,000 accounts after which the commission and the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) received a large number of complaints – more than 1,000 cases were referred to IBAS by around 800 separate customers.
The commission said TGP and Fesuge acknowledged their handling of the case had been "inefficient" and that they accepted their terms were "unclear and ambiguous and did not provide a clear definition of bonus abuse".
By offering a voluntary settlement TGP and Fesuge pre-empted the need for the commission to begin a formal licence review.
Agreed to make changes
As part of the settlement the two companies agreed to make changes to their terms as well as pay £7,000 towards the commission's costs of investigating the matter.
The commission concluded: "We consider this case provides valuable learning for remote and non-remote operators
"Operators offering bonus promotions in the normal course of business and at major events must ensure their terms and conditions comply with the requirements of the CRA [Consumer Rights Act] and the LCCP [licence conditions and codes of practice].
"They should take a proactive approach in assessing their policies and procedures to ensure compliance."
Last year the Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into whether online companies were breaching consumer law and contacted a range of operators to demand information about their use of potentially unfair terms and conditions and misleading practices.