CMA to Investigate Online Casino Practices
After receiving multiple reports of unfairness from users, the Competition and Markets Authority is now investigating the firms that run a host of top gambling bonus sites and casinos. The regulators assigned to this task will be mainly looking into the promotions that online casinos offer, including the accuracy of terms and conditions as well as how dependable a casino is regarding paying out to its members. Casinos will also be reviewed for making cuts to the winnings that a player has and blocking the transfer of funds when players requests withdrawals.
A senior director of the agency, Nisha Arora, concedes that any online casino involves an inherent risk of losing money. However, Arora adds that the operation “shouldn’t be a con.” The primary concern of the Competition and Markets Authority is that players who join a top UK casino with the use of a promotional offer may not understand the complex terms behind the bonus. The lack of understanding causes the player to lose the advantage of the promotion, and this reportedly might be the goal of the online gaming firms being reviewed.
It is estimated that 5.5 billion people within the United Kingdom use some online gambling website for entertainment. The detailed investigation could result in a major shakeup of the industry, including enforcement of regulations or even prosecution in court.
The UK Gambling Commission is partnering with the Competition and Markets Authority to lead the investigation that will primarily focus on welcome bonus matching offers. The Remote Gambling Association has promised its cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the ethical practice violations but stresses that the online casinos involved have done nothing wrong, at least concerning a systemic failure of all gaming sites offering promotions in the region.
The questionable practices of individual online casinos should inspire all players to identify the signs that indicate a safe and fair gaming site.
Identifying a Trusted Online Casino
Players should be wary of welcome bonuses at any online casino that does not outline their terms and conditions up front. The most reputable casinos in the industry have stayed that way because they are clear as to what it takes to redeem a welcome bonus offer. Each player is encouraged to read other user reviews of these online casinos and find out how efficiently bonuses are paid out. There are plenty of gaming sites that offer a new player welcome bonus that is not impossible to claim, but it is worth the player’s time to do some research and understand the fine print hiding behind each promotion.
The best online casinos will have and should have current licenses available to view from links at each site. Web-based casinos are regulated by certain government agencies and are required to follow a list of laws to remain licensed and in operation. These organizations include the Malta Gaming Authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, the UK Gambling Commission, and others. The presence of a license means that the online casino is in compliance with the appropriate legislation, and is a more trusted choice for the prospective player. Visiting a licensed and regulated online casino is of utmost importance for safety and fairness.
Playing at an online casino should be as secure of an experience as possible, so any gaming site offering a promotion to new players must have the proper security measures to back it up. The best casinos for online gaming will never ask a player for personal information after signing up. In fact, the only time the player should have to re-enter any sensitive information is when they log into the site to play. Also, trusted and secure online casinos will never share this type of information with third party companies. Similarly, a good casino should have software in place to digitally encrypt all payment details to prevent fraud or identity theft.
Fair play standards are a vital part of a trusted online casino’s operation, and the player can easily see evidence that points to any casino being fair. Every title in the gaming selection is outfitted with random number generation by the software developer, meaning that the game’s outcome will be unpredictable. The best casinos will have their games monitored and audited by an independent organization for the purposes of checking fairness. These casinos should then make the payout percentages public by posting the info or a link on the site. Players should look for seals of certification, such as eCOGRA or Technical Systems Testing.
The well-being of all players is the biggest priority of an online casino. Not only should each safe casino have an entire section dedicated to responsible gambling, but they are also required by applicable laws to do so. An online casino that is recommended for a safe experience will have tools and resources available to help any at-risk player. These include setting limits on deposits and locking down a real money account altogether. Players are advised to look for an online casino that caters to its members’ needs, including offering help for an excessive gambling habit.
What is the CMA?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is an agency stemming from the government of the United Kingdom that is responsible for spurring business growth through competitive atmosphere and investigation of unfair practices. This agency officially began operations in 2014, assuming the duties of two former government divisions that were shut down. The CMA performs various task including the conduction of marketing studies and investigating recent business mergers. This agency also works to ensure that all businesses are operating following the Competition Act of 1998.
As its name would suggest, the CMA has a reach beyond just that of the online casino industry. The agency was involved in the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order that was enacted in 2014. This legislation requires that all healthcare providers include information on a public database regarding trends in the health of the general population. The CMA also is a major part of consumer advocacy and acts to enforce legislation that will protect consumers and encourage businesses to operate transparently.