UK Gambling Commission Hits bgo with £300,000 Bad Beat

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has dealt a £300,000 bad beat to bgo following a series of advertising infringements.

UKGC fines bgo

UKGC fines bgo £300,000 for potentially misleading consumers about one of its free bet offers. (Image: YouTube/bgo)

As part of its ongoing efforts to regulate UK gambling and ensure operators don’t mislead consumers, the UKGC has taken action against bgo over nine rogue adverts.

According to reports, bgo fell afoul of the UKGC’s code of practice (May 2015), which stipulates that operators must adequately explain the conditions attached to a “free bet” or “bonus.”

After reviewing the company’s onsite adverts as well as those published across various affiliate sites, the UKGC found that bgo hadn’t clearly outlined its terms on nine occasions.

Despite carrying out an audit of its advertising material and reassuring the Commission it would address the issues, bgo was slow to implement any changes.

For this prolonged breach of the rules, the UKGC deemed that the operator “did not take timely and effective action to address the misleading advertisement” and that a fine was appropriate. This is the first time the UKGC has fined an operator for advertising infringements and the £300,000 fee is designed to act as a deterrent for other operators licensed by the UKGC.

Barton’s Bets Cost Him £30,000

In the spirit of fining those in breach of the rules, the Football Association (FA) has slapped footballer Joey Barton with a £30,000 fine and an 18 month ban following a series of illegal sports bets. Under the FA’s 2014 rule change, any person connected to a professional club in the UK is prohibited from betting on any football matches.

Although Barton’s betting offences took place between 2004 and 2011, his 1,260 football bets were only brought to light by Betfair in December 2016. After Barton accepted the charges, the FA was able to punish him under the new rules as well as the previous rule which prohibited players betting on themselves/their team (something Barton did).

Despite calling the fine “OTT” (over the top) on his Twitter page, Barton accepted he was in the wrong and called for the FA to “tackle” the “culture of gambling” in football.

Operators Unhappy With UK Racing Levy

In other UK gambling news this week, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has spoken out against the European Union’s (EU) recent decision to allow a new racing levy in the UK.

At the close of April, the EU gave the UK government the green light to impose a 10 percent tax on all operators serving British horseracing customers.

Under the new law, live and online operators accepting bets from UK-based racing punters will have to pay 10 percent of their annual profits over £500,000. Commenting on the issue, Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the RGA, told Bloomberg BNA that the government shouldn’t be involved in these matters.

“As a rule, we don’t believe that the government should be providing gambling industry-funded state subsidies for any sport,” said Hawkswood.

As well as questioning the government’s involvement, the head of the lobbying group also suggested that the levy wouldn’t bring parity to the industry in the way those in power believe it will.

“The reality is that out of 2,000 licensed betting operators perhaps less than 50 will pay the levy at all. So, the argument that it creates a level playing field is at least questionable,” Hawkswood told Bloomberg BNA.

Although operators have the right to challenge the new law in court, the tax will remain in place until such time that a judge decides it’s unlawful.

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