GamingLawPills No. 14 brings news on new UK gambling alternative dispute resolution procedure to handle disputes with players and the listing plans of the Czech lottery operator Sazka.
UK alternative dispute resolution for the gambling sector
The UK Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Regulations 2015 (the “ADR Regulation”) established the UK Gambling Commission as a competent authority for the gambling sector. The ADR Regulation approves alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) procedures of providers that wish to offer services to gambling players.
The document published the 1st of October 2018 by the UK Gambling Commission is addressed primarily to ADR providers in order to provide them additional guidance on how the UK Gambling Commission expects ADR providers to operate, supplementing the information in the ADR Regulations.
According to ADR Regulations, any gambling business that wants to offer gambling services to consumers in the UK must have a licence under the Licence Condition and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”) and must follow the requirements provided therein. In relation to dispute resolution procedures, the LCCP requires gambling operators to:
- deal with complaints within eight weeks of receiving them;
- have arrangements in place for players to refer any dispute to an ADR provider, if not resolved by the operator;
- ensure that ADR is free of charge for players; and
- provide certain information to players about how to access ADR providers.
On the basis of the above, as part of the new standards for complaints, ADR providers need to:
- consider whether there is a transactional or contractual dispute that they can review, independently of any UK Gambling Commission investigation. The ADR provider will also need to consider whether any other legislation, for example, money laundering regulations, impacts on its ability to handle the dispute;
- comply with the new general principles for considering compensation;
- make available to players information on: (i) whether they will reconsider the outcome of a dispute after the outcome has been issued; (ii) the circumstances or grounds for such reconsideration to take place; (iii) time-limits for requesting such reconsideration, and the process that it will follow; and (iv) what will happen at the end of the process; and
- adhere to the new decision quality standards.
The standards will come into effect from 31 October 2018 and they will provide stronger protection for players and ensure they are treated fairly.
This is an interesting development for the sector. ADR procedures have become successful in the advertising sector for instance, but it will be interesting to see whether the same result will be achieved in relation to disputes with players.
Sazka’s listing plans put on hold
Sazka is one of the largest gambling group in Europe after the joint venture with the largest Croatian sports betting company, SuperSport, and the significantly increased lottery and betting presence in Austrian casinos.
Sazka was planning to list its UK initial public offering (“IPO”), confirming the company’s intention of competing for the UK National Lottery license currently held by Camelot. However, Sazka put its IPO plans for the London listing on hold for the time being due to a “number of uncertainties, including those caused by the volatile market environment.”
A spokeman for Sazka has confirmed that the company will revive its UK plans “once market conditions have improved” and “greater clarity” will be shown, continuing to expand its business both organically and via acquisition.