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The gambling watchdog yesterday came under fire for its refusal to ban ‘grooming’ tactics used by bookmakers - even though it admits they are designed to make punters spend more.


New Gambling Commission rules to govern VIP schemes - accused of enticing the vulnerable with cash bonuses and exclusive tickets to sports matches - stopped short of banning them.
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Labour MP Carolyn Harris said: ‘This, sadly, is indicative of the close relationship between the industry and the Gambling Commission.’


Liz Ritchie, of the Gambling With Lives charity, said: ��This weak and vague regulation means gambling companies will continue to flout the regulations.’


New Gambling Commission rules to govern VIP schemes - accused of enticing the vulnerable with cash bonuses and exclusive tickets to sports matches - stopped short of banning them (file image)


The rules, which come in on October 31, require bookmakers to make sure customers can afford what they are betting before they make them VIPs.


Many of Britain’s bookmakers, including Paddypower, Betway and Ladbrokes, have been handed multi-million pound fines for targeting addicts and allowing stolen money to be used on their websites.


Matt Gaskell, Consultant Psychologist for the NHS Northern Gambling Service, said the announcement was ��everything that is wrong with the gambling establishment and its allies rolled into one’.


He added: ‘This is why marking your own homework and light touch regulation of a harmful industry doesn’t work.’


Labour MP Carolyn Harris said: ‘This, sadly, is indicative of the close relationship between the industry and the Gambling Commission’

The new rules, which come into force on October 31, will require bookmakers to make sure customers can afford what they are betting before they make a customer a VIP.


Gambling companies must assess whether there is previous evidence of harm or addiction, and make a senior manager personally responsible for the schemes, and they will be accountable when they go wrong.


VIP schemes typically require customers to spend a minimum of £1,000 per month and are enormously lucrative for companies.
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Ladbrokes’ owner GVC admitted it takes 38 per cent of deposits from just over one per cent of its customers, while Paddy Power Betfair last year took a fifth of its revenues from just 0.6 per cent of customers.

The Commission said: ��All operators will now need to follow new guidance on these schemes...cba.plsmpnsatulongkali.sch.id designed to maintain or increase their custom.’


Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, added: ��Our enforcement work has identified too many cases of misconduct in the management of VIP schemes and this is the last chance for operators to show they can operate such schemes appropriately.


‘We understand that the number of customers signed up to ‘VIP’ schemes has already reduced by 70 per cent since we challenged the industry to get its house in order, last year.’
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