Online casino operator bgo announced today that it will remove minimum wagering requirements on bonuses from 15 October, citing player feedback and the changing regulatory environment in the UK for online casinos.
Any bonuses offered by bgo.com and its sister site powerspins.com from this date will be in the form of real cash only or ‘wagerless’ free spins.
The operator called it a “bold move” that puts bgo at odds with its peers who continue to tie customers in with minimum wagering conditions that prevent them from cashing out any wins until they have bet the minimum, which can be 50x or 60x the original bonus amount.
BGO Entertainment CMO Allan Turner admitted the decision had been driven by the increased regulatory pressure online casinos are finding themselves under in the UK.
In May, the operator was fined £300,000 by the UK Gambling Commission for misleading advertising.
BGO's announcement also follows Nisha Arora, the Senior Director for Consumer Enforcement at the Competition and Markets Authority which has launched enforcement action against several online gambling operators suspected of breaking consumer law, questioning the fairness of signup bonuses across the industry, stating that: “Players should be able to walk away with their money when they want.
“We’ve not taken this decision lightly”, said Turner. “The recent changes to the regulatory environment in the UK means we are spending time with various parties, be it the UKGC, the CMA, ASA and then of course the players themselves.
“The bonus issue is something that is continually discussed and we are at a cross-roads where we need to make the right decision for both the company and the consumer.
“If we have evidence players find wagering conditions confusing or unfair, then that’s enough for us to take a decision. We have always run a safe, trusted and fair online casino and player enjoyment is and always will be our number one priority.
He added that: “Hopefully bgo can demonstrate to the industry that restrictive bonus wagering conditions are not the way to go and we can make them a thing of the past.”
BGO Entertainment CFO Hannah Westley added that the company had also felt for some time that the market was over bonusing, moving from 100% match bonuses with 20x wagering requirements when the company’s principals first entered the market in 2001 to today's 200% and 400% no deposit bonuses, free spins, higher turn requirements, max bets and less/non contributing games.
“All operators are very keen to sign new customers and show growth. however the player lifetime is not what it once was and we think some of the reasons relate to the market’s treatment of bonus cash and consumers resentment of them.”
She added that a recent customer support review had revealed a high volume of queries in relation to wagering requirements.
“We obviously list them in the T&Cs but your average player doesn’t immediately understand what a turn requirement means and can become frustrated easily when not being able to withdraw immediately after a win with an active bonus. And then of course, different games carry a different contribution to turn percentage it can be quite confusing.
“In our opinion real players aren’t interested in bonuses laced with restrictive terms in any case, and rather than spend our time helping people understand wagering, it is our aim to turn the model on its head and win loyal customers over by offering a fair and simple environment in which to play.