29th July 2021
IBAS has today published its 2020 Annual Report. The report:
- Supports the principle of creating gambling ombudsman
- Recommends using IBAS’s 23 years dispute resolution experience as the foundations for a new consumer complaints handling body
- Recommends widening the remit of existing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures, working in partnership with the Gambling Commission to develop standards against which businesses can be assessed
- Calls for an end to up-front free credit ‘welcome bonuses’ which require potentially unsafe minimum levels of gambling to unlock, often contain complex rules, lead to allegations of industrial scale account opening and generate large volumes of disputes
- Recommends greater clarity and consistency for the treatment of accounts operated by people who find a way to gamble online while self-excluded
- Asks the betting industry to review how consumers can be better notified when heavily marketed cash out features are faulty and unavailable
- Calls for greater consumer-accessibility to the data used to settle statistical betting markets
IBAS Managing Director, Richard Hayler, said:
“2020 was a year of unprecedented political and public interest in gambling, consumer protection and complaints handling.
“It was also a logistically challenging period which our staff, adjudication panellists and directors have adapted to wholeheartedly and professionally. We provided dispute resolution to consumers and businesses without interruption or government assistance.
“The government’s ongoing review of gambling legislation has created some uncertainty about the future but we remain committed to developing and improving our service further. In 2020 we considered over 5,500 formally submitted requests for ADR from UK and international consumers and we provided informal advice to many thousands of others.
“We believe that if the government embraces the concept of a Gambling Ombudsman our body of experience – over 80,000 formal adjudication processes in over 20 years – provides the obvious foundation for a new type of service.
“We hope that DCMS will recommend an expansion of the current remit of ADR to maximise the number of consumer complaints that can be properly addressed, but we have already begun to explore the practical challenges that will bring. We hope that proposals may also be forthcoming from the review about how the most effective partnership between regulator and ombudsman – if one is recommended – can be achieved.”