Are we in the middle of the open season on UK casino sites and other gambling operators? Well, it sure looks like so.
After recent UK gambling regulation discussions and changes to the wagering requirements on casino bonuses, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued another set of regulatory updates; this time for loyalty schemes and VIP programmes.
The might regulatory hammer hit VIP programs that encourage players to spend more with promises of incredible rewards. The Commission is particularly concerned about the exploitative nature of these programmes because they shower problem gamblers with ‘free’ bonuses, bets, etc.
Misleading and irresponsible programmes
If you played even a little bit on online casinos, then you know what the UKGC is talking about. Many of these loyalty schemes encourage players to place large bets to achieve the VIP status. After they become VIPs, players receive rewards and bonuses, which are frankly, nothing in compare how much they spent to get there. Furthermore, many casinos fail to mention that these ‘free’ rewards come with a number of restrictions and requirements.
The Commission issued a statement following these discussions. It states, “What we are very clear about is that safeguarding consumers is not optional and rewarding customer loyalty through VIP programmes must not be at the risk of gambling-related harm, and operators have a real responsibility here.”
Companies will no longer be allowed to promise quick riches. Additionally, if any promotion or bonus comes with specific restrictions, they must highlight all of them. These are mostly part of the new advertising rules, but they apply to VIP promotions as well.
Finally, the Commission ordered gambling operators to make thorough player checks before they award VIP statuses; hoping that this will prevent excessive spending with problem gamblers.