The Advertising Standards Authority has accused the bookie of “linking gambling with sexual success”.
In a matter of days, UK betting giant Ladbrokes will know their fate in an arbitration case alleging the company’s software was frustrating punters’ attempts to place wagers on horse racing.
The Guardian last Wednesday reported that the UK’s primary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service and the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) was looking into three similar complaints concerning some online bets that Ladbrokes declined, but punters allege they were cancelled.
The disputes concern racing wagers that were declined by Ladbrokes, however the punters are saying they received an official bet number suggesting the bets were accepted.
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The punter realised their wagers had been declined after the races but allege the bets were graded as “cancelled” calling into question whether the bets were previously accepted before there were declined.
The three bets were placed individually over a period of months, and if IBAS finds there were software malfunction on the part of Ladbrokes, it is likely other similar cases have gone unreported.
The annual report of the IBAS for the past 12 months, ending September 30, shows it investigated 3,595 complaints of which 1923 went in favour of the operator, while 227 favoured customers. Also, 1,445 of the complaints were to the satisfaction of customers.
On November 1, a new standard for ADR providers released last month by the UK Gambling Commission started taking effect to ensure a fairer gambling environment for punters.
Punters have long been complaining about gambling operators rejecting their bets or limiting them to lessen their potential losses.
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This week has seen plenty of political movements with Brazil’s President avoiding impeachment and looking to the gambling industry as a source of revenue. Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has announced it will crack down on illegal gambling and the Philippines has introduced new anti-money laundering policies. Keep reading the find out more.
Australian casino fights poker machine allegations
Australia is still reeling from the explosive allegations made by three former employees against Crown Resorts casino. This week, Crown Resorts hit back at allegations it tampered with poker machines, among other claims released by Independent lawmaker, Andrew Wilkie. In a letter, Crown Resorts chairman, John Alexander, wrote that Wilkie should have followed the standard procedure when it comes to investigating complaints, instead of using parliamentary privilege. It’s not clear whether a parliamentary inquiry will take place since the Turnbull government is reluctant to grant one.
As a result of the intense scrutiny of James Packer’s Crown Resorts company, CrownBet (partly owned by Crown Resorts) has been forced to pull its CrownLotto service. Australian states want to stamp out online lottery betting and due to the additional attention from gambling regulators, the betting site pulled its own product which rivalled Lottoland.
This week, the highest paid employee of the Western Australian government was revealed to be Racing and Wagering chief executive Richard Burt. According to the West Australian, he collected a salary of almost $800,000 in 2016, following a $70,000 pay rise.
US state to revisit outdated gambling laws
New Jersey is set to receive a new governor in the coming weeks, with the November 7 election determining who will replace current Governor, Chris Christie. Christie has been a strong advocate for expanding gambling services, including legalising sports betting in the US, and his replacement could undermine his efforts. However, the gubernatorial race is down to a former US ambassador to Germany, Phil Murphy, and lieutenant governor in Christie’s administration, Kim Guadagno, and both have agreed that Atlantic City should no longer hold the monopoly on gambling.
Louisiana lawmakers are urging the state government to review gambling laws which are nearly three decades old and due to the instability of the state’s finances, Louisiana could soon see its riverboat casinos moving on land. Republican state senator, Ronnie Johns, said the laws are outdated during Monday’s legislative session, and pointed out neighbouring states could be stealing potential customers. Republican State Senator, Ronnie Johns, said while no new casino licenses will be granted, updating the framework will allow gambling facilities to compete with Mississippi and the new native American facilities in Oklahoma.
Millennials and skill-based games seems to go hand in hand, at least according to casions in Las Vegas. The latest casino to add the games is Planet Hollywood, installing three ‘TriStation’ units that feature six different skill-based games, targeted at the younger generation. The machines have been introduced under the Nevada Control Board’s New Innovations Beta (NIB) program, which allows casinos to try out new games with real gamblers.
UK betting company ends publication of odds
Ladbrokes Coral has ended the practice of publishing odds of the day in UK newspapers, as prices fluctuated significantly to those published. The bookmaker previously allowed odds for the day to be printed at 8:30 am on race days, but Ladbrokes Coral has since labelled the practice “commercially nonsensical”. The company said the practice left the UK bookmaker in the opposite position in the market than intended, and as of Monday, the betting company will no longer honour markets displayed in newspapers.
Online gambling sites have been forced to remove any advertising which may appeal to children this week, after the UK Gambling Commission and Advertising Standards Authority signed a letter supporting the reforms. The letter in question was sent to more than 450 operators, advising that they remove all colours, graphics and cartoon images which may appeal to children to avoid prosecution. The Committee of Advertising Practice and the Remote Gambling Association also signed the letter, which addresses the prevalence of gambling among children.
Meanwhile, professional poker player, Phil Ivey, has lost his last court appeal against Crockford’s Casino in London. The casino refused to pay Ivey his winnings after it discovered he had used edge sorting to gain an advantage. Ivey sued the casino, but three courts found him guilty each time. This week, the UK Supreme Court, and Ivey’s last chance, ruled against the poker star.
Brazilian President open to gambling expansion
The Brazilian President has announced he is open to signing any gambling bills that come his way. It was not clear whether his promise was noteworthy earlier this week, as he was facing a potential trial on alleged corruption charges. However, on Wednesday lawmakers voted against sending him to face the charges, which would have resulted in a six-month suspension from office. Surviving the vote could mean the beginning of a regulated gambling industry, with two bills making their way through the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Kenyan sports betting company to stay
The CEO of the Kenyan sports betting company has announced that Sportpesa is not going anywhere, despite stating the opposite when the 35 percent uniform tax rate on gambling operators was signed into law. In an interview with Daily Nation, Ronald Karauri said it didn’t make sense for the company to exit the Kenyan market anymore but he hopes that the government will still change its mind. He also said that the government is misinformed if it believes higher taxation rates lead to stronger regulation of the gambling industry.
Malaysia tackles illegal gambling
The Malaysian government wants to crackdown on illegal gambling by amending legislation or crafting a new law. The Home Ministry is working with both the police and the Attorney-General to work out the best way to approach the issue. But the Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, has revealed that the government hasn’t decided whether it will amend the current law or craft a new law specifically targeting online gambling. While online gambling is considered to be illegal in the country, the vague language means offshore online casino operators can accept Malaysian players.
Philippines’ casinos to record customer’s identity
Under new anti-money laundering policies, Filipino casinos will only be allowed to accept players if they show identification. They will also be required to record all patrons and their gambling activity. The new rules appear to keep proxy betting, where gamblers make bets via communication apps like WhatsApp with operators placing their bets at the casino, legal. The new policies mean the threshold for transaction reporting can be as high as PHP5 million.
Japanese casinos back on track
While it was initially thought the snap election proposed by current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe would derail the timeframe for casinos, it may have done the opposite. Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party appears to have captured two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representative. The results confirm strong support for Abe’s political agenda, including the implementation of land-based casinos, which could get the timeline back on track. However, some delays are expected due to the public opposition of the casinos and problem gambling issues.
THE UK gambling industry is facing a period of uncertainty and comments from the soon-to-be Chairman of UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) hasn’t made things any better.
Lord David Currie told the Financial Times that the mid-2000s’ “liberalisation” of the UK’s gambling industry wasn’t the best thing to do given the high rate of problem gambling.
Lord Currie, who takes over the chairman position for the ASA next month, said people who are concerned with the rate of problem gambling should look back to where it all started.
“I think people should ask the question: ‘was that the right policy at the time?’,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is this is a big issue here in the UK, more so than many other countries, because of that liberalisation.”
He added that the industry is not as regulated as it should be, but the ASA couldn’t fix the issues alone.
His comments are based on anti-gambling campaign groups arguing that the rise in gambling advertising is partly responsible for the two million people recorded as problem gamblers, or at risk players, by the UK Gambling Commission in a report last month.
Lord Currie’s comments also follow a series of incidents involving gambling companies and advertising issues.
While UK sports betting companies and British online casino sites have been able to promote gambling services on British TV since the implementation of the Gambling Act in 2005, there are several restrictions in place to protect vulnerable people, including children and at-risk gamblers.
Ladbrokes, 888, Sky Betting & Gaming, and Casumo were recently slammed by the ASA, which regulates the UK’S advertising industry, for letting a rogue affiliate get away with publishing fake news which “targeted vulnerable people”.
Although gambling companies weren’t aware of the article, they were held responsible as they were positioned to profit from players who signed up.
Ladbrokes and 888 ended their partnership with the affiliate, while Sky ended its affiliate program altogether.
Other gambling companies have been held accountable for advertising breaches, including BGO casino for “misleading customers”.
Lord Currie said clearer boundaries need to be established with regards to the definition of gambling advertising.
“We clearly need to be policing the boundaries between what is comment and what becomes advertising and that is an important challenge,” he said.
“If someone is being paid that is an advertisement and there needs to be greater clarity about that.”
He added that a review of advertising rules needs to take place to ensure regulators are keeping up with the changing environment.
The advertising crackdown campaign has been spearheaded by several politicians. UK Labour Party’s Tom Watson recently called for a ban on gambling advertising on football jersey’s. Mr Watson wants to introduce legislation to ban gambling sponsorships if football associations don’t start taking more action.
The gambling advertising crackdown also ties in with the upcoming triennial review of the nation’s gaming industry, set to be published in October. While the report will predominantly focus on the maximum stakes of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), advertising will be featured, as well as whether heavier restrictions on the gambling industry should be introduced.
FOUR popular gambling companies are under fire after rogue affiliates posted socially-irresponsible news posts.
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating complaints made against Ladbrokes, 888, SkyBet and Casumo regarding adverts which target vulnerable people.
While their affiliates posted the articles, the betting companies are likely to be penalised as the posts irresponsibly promote gambling.
According to The Guardian, the posts featured content which implied that gambling clears debts, with a story about a man who paid for his wife’s medical treatment by playing casino games. Three other posts were similar in nature.
The watchdog said the adverts breached the code because they suggested gambling “could provide an escape from personal problems such as depression and that it could be a solution to financial concerns”.
It also said the posts implied that they were true news articles.
While the affiliates are at fault, the ASA holds the companies responsible since they benefited from anyone who signed up via the posts.
The UK Gambling Commission, which oversees the four betting companies, has not revealed whether it will be fining Ladbrokes, SkyBet, 888 and Casumo.
“We expect operators to take action to ensure that they have a clear view of what their affiliates are doing on their behalf,” the UKGC said in a statement.
“Where operators fail to do this, we will not hesitate to use our powers to hold them to account.”
Ladbrokes commented on the situation, revealing that the company has “been working to improve the types of advertising and marketing used by affiliates.”
“Nobody in Ladbrokes Coral believes that this sort of ‘fake news’ marketing has a place in the sector,” the company added.
“We have been reducing the number of affiliates we work with as well as clamping down hard on anyone using our name without our knowledge in a bid to curtail this sort of activity going forward.”
A spokesperson for 888 said the company has terminated its business relationship with the affiliates behind the posts.
The spokesperson added that the company has “taken further steps to ensure this type of incident does not occur again”.
Sky Vegas also terminated its agreement with the affiliate – and ended its affiliate program completely -, while Casumo said it was the fault of an external “media buyer”.
Chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, said affiliates need to be wary in regards to how they act.
“It would be wrong to tar all affiliates with the same brush,” he said.
“Hopefully lessons will be learned, but, if not, affiliates can expect to see operators reconsidering their relationships and the real prospect of direct regulatory action.”
888 recently received a record fine of £7.8 million after the UKGC found the company failed to implement adequate self-exclusion procedure. The UKGC also found 888 did not pick up on visible signs of problem gambling.