The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has urged the UK government to establish a Gambling Ombudsman to deal with customer concerns.
The BGC called on the government in a post on its website, with BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher stating that backing the launch of a Gambling Ombudsman was proof of the regulated industry’s determination to drive up standards within the gambling industry.
Although systems for dealing with customer complaints already exist, the BGC believes that a Gambling Ombudsman would improve the process and make it more consistent, and so has proposed a legal requirement that all licensed operators should sign up with the new Ombudsman.
In a statement, Michael Dugher said: “This is further evidence of the BGC’s determination to drive up standards in the regulated betting and gaming industry.
“We hope that the government will look favourably on our calls for a Gambling Ombudsman to be established as soon as possible following the conclusion of the Gambling Review, which we strongly support.”
He added: “The BGC and its members recognise the need for further change in our industry and a new Gambling Ombudsman would be a step forward in customer redress – I’m proud to be giving it our backing.”
Conor Grant, the Chief Executive of Flutter UK and Ireland, commented: “At the heart of our business is a focus on our customers – both delivering great entertainment and making sure that it is always underpinned by increasingly robust safer gambling practices.
“And true commitment to putting customers first also means making sure that they have somewhere independent to go if something does go amiss – that is why Flutter is fully behind the call from the BGC today for the government to include an Ombudsman in its plans for reform of the gambling industry.”
The BGC’s call for a Gambling Ombudsman comes as the UK government continues carrying out its review of the Gambling Act 2005, which launched last December. Ministers are expected to produce a White Paper at the end of this year, with a ban on gambling sponsorships a “likely” outcome.
Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission has announced the suspension of PlayerFT’s operating license over GAMSTOP failings.
The suspension was announced in a post on the official UK Gambling Commission website where the regulatory body revealed that it had suspended PlayerFT’s license after launching a review into the operator due to concerns that activities had been carried out in breach of its license conditions.
The Commission also carried out the review due to concerns that PlayerFT Limited was unsuitable to carry on providing its licensed activities, and that a licensed activity was carried out in a manner inconsistent with its licensing objectives.
Following its review, the UK Gambling Commission suspended PlayerFT’s license for failing to integrate with national self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP, which all operators are required to do as a condition of their operating licenses.
In a statement on the UKGC website, the regulatory body said: “We have made it clear to the operator that during the course of the suspension, we expect it to focus on treating customers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them.”
PlayerFT Limited’s Fiveyards gambling website, which acts as a virtual football transfer market, has now been suspended, although the UKGC states that customers can still access their accounts and withdraw funds.
The news comes after the UK Gambling Commission suspended the operating license of Lottery England Limited due to concerns that its activities were carried out contrary to the Gambling Act 2005, not in accordance with the conditions of its license, and that it was unsuitable to continue operating.
Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission last month granted game developer Quik Gaming a UK gambling license, allowing the developer to launch its games with UK-facing operators.
Also this week, game developer and aggregator Relax Gaming has launched in Denmark after striking a content agreement with Danish casino operator RoyalCasino.dk.
Under the content agreement, Relax Gaming has supplied its entire catalogue of casino games to RoyalCasino, along with a hand-picked selection of titles by its Powered By Relax programme partners, including ReelPlay, 4theplayer, and others.
Daniel Eskola, the CCO at Relax Gaming, said in a statement: “As our recent activity in the Nordics has shown, this is a key region for us and this deal with RoyalCasino.dk maintains that momentum.
“They are a respected and prestigious operator, so it’s exciting to shake hands on another significant partnership.”
Per Petersen, the CEO at RoyalCasino, added: “We have the highest of standards and want to offer the best games content at RoyalCasino, so we needed a partner that held similar virtues – Relax Gaming fits that bill.
“They offer a wide variety of quality, popular games that are going to significantly boost our player offering and thus support us in being one of the most popular and trusted online casinos in Denmark – we’re delighted to work with Relax Gaming.”
The news comes after the Kindred Group, which has been the largest shareholder in the studio since 2013, last week fully acquired Relax Gaming by purchasing the remaining shares of the company.
As we reported, Kindred Group plans on keeping Relax Gaming as a separate entity within the Kindred Group, operating with its own board of directors and management team. The gambling operator will also invest in the studio as part of its aim in becoming a leading game provider within the gambling industry.