UKGC: Withdrawal problems ‘number one’ cause of UK bettor complaints

UKGC: Withdrawal problems ‘number one’ bettor complaint

UK customers’ capability to withdraw funds from their accounts must not be hindered, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has asserted, but restrictions to deposits can occur.

The regulator is currently engaged in discussions with UK betting industry stakeholders as the sector continues to digest the recommendations of the Gambling Act review. Full implementation of the review’s outcomes is expected next year. 

Lucy Denton, the Commission’s Director of Communications, explained in a blog post that the regulator will ‘continue to work with companies’ as White Paper consultations proceed – however, the regulator has noticed a number of customer complaints around withdrawals.

Over 6,000 calls have been received by the UKGC’s Contact Centre each year, with withdrawals earmarked as ‘the number one topic raised’ by customers, according to Denton.

The Comms Director explained: “Consumers are often frustrated to find that, having made a request to an operator to withdraw funds from their gambling account, sometimes they have to wait for long periods for the funds to become available to them. 

“We also hear from consumers who have been required to send certain forms of information to the operator, such as identity documents, before the withdrawal can be processed.”

The Commission has reminded operators that general terms and conditions must reflect the right of withdrawal, which must also be ‘clearly stated’ during the customer sign-up process for a promotion and on a bettor’s account.

Although bookmakers need to verify player identities when onboarding and creating an account, a request for an ID cannot be made as a condition for withdrawing cash. Player protection must be complied with in a transparent way and customer notices must meet the terms of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Denton continued: “It is not acceptable for operators to introduce friction when a customer tries to withdraw from their account rather than the point at which they deposit into the account, or to place the operator’s commercial interests over those of their customers.”

Building on this, the UKGC added that information used to determine the risk of gambling-related harm cannot also be used to delay or prevent withdrawal of funds, but only a customer’s ability to deposit.

“We will keep tracking the complaints we receive to understand consumer’s experiences, as their views shape our work,” Denton concluded.

“In addition, we’ll be undertaking targeted compliance activity to look at operators’ published terms and practices. We’ll share any lessons arising from that work and will consider whether there is any need to further strengthen our regulatory framework.”

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