Online casinos face penalties as watchdog takes action over player winnings

  • CMA has found players can be blocked from withdrawing winnings
  • Players who sign up without a promotion may find they are stopped from cashing out

A watchdog has discovered that online casino punters are being cheated out of money they have won online.

Action is currently being undertaken against five different online casinos, which at this stage are remaining anonymous, over concerns that they are wrongfully holding onto player money when it should be paid out.

Competition Markets Authority wade in

The Competition Markets Authority have taken the decision due to an investigation into online gambling which found that unclear terms and conditions were being cited as reasons for hanging onto or cutting player winnings.

The CMA is also investigating betting companies use of sign up offers and their online casinos after around 800 customers complained to the authority, as well as there being concerns that players are unable to remove money from their betting accounts.

The investigation also found that punters may have to play casino games a certain amount of times before any of the money is paid out, meaning they may lose more before they can get access to the money they won.

Tempting promotions under scrutiny

Nisha Arora, CMA senior director for consumer enforcement, said: “New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them – and players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.

“That’s why we are today launching enforcement action where we think the law has been broken. We are also asking people who have had difficulties withdrawing their money when they’ve gambled online to tell us about it, and help probe this issue even further.”

Sarah Harrison, the Gambling Commission chief executive, added: “Whilst the CMA takes enforcement action on how consumer legislation is followed, the gambling industry should be under no illusion that if they don’t comply with consumer law, we will see this as a breach of their operating licence, and take decisive action.

“Gambling operators must treat players fairly, but some have been relying on terms that are unclear with too many strings attached.”
Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission

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