The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has taken further steps to improve the compliance of the UK online gambling sector with a new batch of warnings to operators in breach of the rules.
The gambling regulator has issued a warning to online gambling companies to ensure that all of their games adhere to the strict transparency and safety rules that are part of their licence. The UKGC confirmed that the reminder was prompted by a discovery that six firms operating with UK licences were providing customers with ‘feature buy-in’ options in some slots-style online games.
These features give players the chance to wager significant amounts of additional money in order to access the promoted bonus feature, bypassing the initial rounds of the basic game. According to the UKGC, one game featured a buy-in of over £3,000 to access the bonus feature.
In response, the UKGC has warned operators about this practice. It has also reiterated the existing standards for online gambling in this area.
Specifically, it has reminded operators of RTS Requirement 3A, which requires that a full explanation of the rules regarding each feature must be available to every customer before they make the commitment to buy-in. Firms are also obliged to ensure that all of the text attached to the bonus offer is entirely accurate and to take all steps necessary to explain the content.
The UKGC also referred firms to Requirement 14A. This obliges operators to ensure that no gambling product encourages any customer to chase losses, raise their stakes or to carry on gambling when they have made it clear that they want to stop. The UKGC has also contacted all six of the firms found to be using feature buy-ins and the offending features have now been removed from their sites.