The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is making it clear there is no messing around when it comes to establishing the United Kingdom as the world’s most tightly regulated online gambling market.
Lottoland.com is the latest gambling site to fall victim to the Commission’s strict enforcements. The online lotto company was slapped with a £150,000 fine after the UK Gambling Commission deemed Lottoland was misleading customers with its advertising.
Lottoland is an online gambling service where players bet on the outcome of various global lottery draws rather than participating in the lottery draws themselves. While Lottoland’s jackpot prizes are the same value as the genuine lotteries, the Commission declared that Lottoland failed to make it clear to customers that they were not actually taking part in the lottery.
The complaint was lodged to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in February 2017 by a member of the public after a Lottoland radio advertisement was aired that failed to clarify bets were on the outcome of the lottery.
In addition to the radio ad, the Commission’s investigation found Lottoland failed to make the distinction clear over its website and social media accounts. A report of the findings said the online content was unclear and ambiguous and therefore misleading. The investigation found “it would not have been clear to the afverage consumer that he or she was participating in betting as opposed to a lottery. This results in the risk that consumers take a transactional decision they would not have taken otherwise “
Lottoland’s £150K fine will go towards a socially responsible cause. The company will also be required to pay the costs of the Commission’s investigation, and agree to releasing a public statement to the gambling industry admitting its faults.
The public statement declares Lottoland as being in breach of social responsibility code provisions, including the marketing of offers and the responsibility for third parties. The statement includes a list of recommendations for gambling operators to avoid making the same mistakes as Lottoland.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Programme Director for Enforcement and Intelligence, said: “In this case the operator used ambiguous terminology in their marketing and advertising, which was misleading. That is not acceptable and the £150,000 penalty package reflects the seriousness of Lottoland’s failures.”
The Commission hopes to see operators learning a lesson from this case and ensure their customers are clear about exactly what gambling services are being offered.
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