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GC to address “high volume” of account withdrawal complaints

| By Marese O'Hagan
The GB Gambling Commission has instigated a review on customer account withdrawals, after noting a continuing trend in customers having issues withdrawing money.
Gambling Commission

In a blog post authored by Lucy Denton, the Commission’s director of communications, she wrote that out of all complaints received by its contact centre issues with withdrawals remain the number one topic. The Commission receives approximately 6,000 calls per year.

In light of this, the regulator implemented a review of the withdrawal request process. This involved requesting some of the industry’s largest companies to provide data on how they process withdrawals.

Of this data, the Commission said operators approve, process and fulfil an estimated 99% of customer withdrawal requests within 24 to 48 hours of the request. Although this is obviously a high amount, Denton noted that this leaves a lot to be desired for some customers.

“When you have over 20 million people gambling every four weeks, a mere 1% of withdrawals taking longer can still mean a lot of frustrated customers,” she wrote.

What’s being done?

To address this, Denton affirmed that the Commission will address customer withdrawal complaints as part of its Business Plan commitment announced in April.

This plan will address different aspects of non-compliance, including difficulties in withdrawing funds from operators.

Ahead of this, Denton pointed to a number of historical steps taken by the Commission, such as ITS existing expectations for operators and updating its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) IN 2019.

GC: Do not induce “friction”

Denton said there should be little-to-no delays from operators in returning funds to customers, not even in the case of suspected gambling harm.

“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,” Denton continued.

“Similarly, any information the operator requires from the customer to identify whether they are at risk of gambling-related harm should not be used to delay or prevent the customer withdrawing their funds.”

The Commission’s next steps

According to Denton, the Commission will continue to monitor complaints from customers to address non-compliance with withdrawals.

In addition, it will share insights gathered from its customer account withdrawals review, which could influence certain potential changes to its regulatory framework.

Back in 2018, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority ordered two operators to update their policies regarding customer account withdrawals. Previously the two operators – Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play – had terms and conditions that prohibited customers from withdrawing all their money at once.

But customer account withdrawals aren’t the only financial measures plaguing the Commission this month.

Later in July, the Commission is expected to publish the first four consultations that were outlined in the Gambling Act review white paper. Among these are affordability checks – also known as financial risk checks or vulnerability checks – which would force operators to ask for detailed financial information from customers in order to allow them to bet.

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