The services offered by online casino operators in various regions are required to be in compliance with the regulations set forth by government agencies. These regulations are necessary for online casinos to remain in business and maintain the proper licensing. In the United Kingdom specifically, the UK Gambling Commission is in charge of regulating and licensing casinos that operate online. This regulatory agency is known as one of the most prominent in the industry due to its hardline stance on casinos that fail to follow protocol. Online casino operator LeoVegas is the most recent operator to receive a fine from the UK Gambling Commission.
According to the UK Gambling Commission, LeoVegas has been fined £600,000 after the agency performed a license review and found numerous compliance issues. Among findings in the review were issues related to how LeoVegas was handling gamblers who had opted to use the self-exclusion process. At any reputable online casino, self-exclusion is used by the player to lock an account for a certain amount of time. During that period, the online casino cannot contact players with advertisements or promotional offers. Online casinos must also verify that the player wants their account unlocked after the self-exclusion period is over.
Findings by the UK Gambling Commission show that LeoVegas had sent marketing materials to close to 1,900 players who were currently using the self-exclusion option. For two months, it is reported that 400 players who are members of LeoVegas managed to use £200,000 worth of bets without being contacted or having the suggestion of a cool-off period that lasts 24 hours.
Television advertisements from LeoVegas were also a problematic topic that was brought up in the UK Gambling Commission license review. In addition, over 11,000 players did not receive a return of deposited funds after choosing to use the self-exclusion option and close a real money account. The settlement that was reached between LeoVegas and the UK Gambling Commission will include a return of more than £14,000 to former players.
Another element of the fine slapped on LeoVegas is the use of promotional content and advertisements over the course of eight months. The advertisements and promotions in question did not clearly state the restrictions and terms that accompany bonuses. LeoVegas states that the self-exclusion fiasco is a result of an issue within the software used by the online casino. The company also decided to point the finger of blame at affiliate marketing firms that feature reviews and promotions for LeoVegas.
Over the past year, the UK Gambling Commission has increased its efforts to protect players. The agency’s resolve has led to a much stricter approach to handling violations by online casinos and other companies that fail to uphold standards for licensing. Violations and failures in regards to misleading players is considered especially egregious by the UK Gambling Commission. The LeoVegas fine can be seen as setting an example that Britain’s powerful regulatory agency is serious about protecting the individual. Online casino operators can expect more regulations and enforcement in the near future.