The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the withdrawal restrictions placed on customers’ accounts by online gambling companies.
This is part of an overall investigation launched in October 2016 by the CMA into whether customers are treated fairly.
On 1st March on the Government website it was announced that the CMA had launched enforcement action against online firms who may be placing unfair blocks in the way of players who want to get to their funds.
In particular, the action will look at:
- Daily, weekly or monthly limits that are particularly low.
- Time limits on a customer verifying their identity before they can make a withdrawal – and the subsequent forfeiting of funds if the deadline is not met.
- Dormancy terms that incur a charge, or loss of funds if an account is not used in a period of time
On the UK Gambling Commission website the action was welcomed in a statement.
The Programme Director at the UK GC said: “We support the CMA’s investigation – gambling firms should not be placing unreasonable restrictions on when and how consumers can withdraw money from their online gambling accounts. While the CMA continues its enquiry, we expect all online operators to look closely at the terms and practices they have in place and consider if they are fair on their customers.”
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the Remote Gaming Association (RGA), has said that the CMA has already warned UK gambling operators that action would be taken against operators whose practices prejudice the customer, and that withdrawals are one of the most common areas for complaints.
Mr Hawkswood said: “The correct and proper application of anti-fraud and anti-money laundering controls is frequently what lies behind delays and we are collectively seeking ways to better explain that to customers.”
“However, the CMA has identified a number of cases that are not justified on these grounds. Where they have deemed that customers have not been dealt with fairly then it must be right for them to take action. Where common themes or failings emerge then we will make every effort to disseminate those across the sector so that the same mistakes are not repeated.”