Leo Vegas hit with a £600,000 fine – but is it strong enough?

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This blog, on more than one occasion, has bemoaned the often-toothless approach taken by the Gambling Commission. The level and frequency of mistreatment to customers by Gambling Companies really is unique in the world of business. Were any other industry to employ tactics similar to bookmakers, they’d be dragged over hot coals – but yet the Gambling industry continues to avoid punishment for infringing customer rights. However, is all this about to change?

Of course, it was not long ago that 888Casino was hit with a huge fine for misconduct regarding users who’d excluded themselves from the service. But it was the consistency of these fines after such a landmark case that would prove the Gambling Commission was indeed taking a tougher stance.

The most recent fine dished out to LeoVegas may be an indication that things are going in the right direction. A not insignificant fine of £600,000 was slapped on Leo Vegas this week. We’ll let you be the judge as to whether this is a fair amount.

The infringements by LeoVegas were numerous. Among them was the scarily common practice of hitting self-excluded players with advertising/offers instantly upon their exclusion period ending without said player opting in to receive such communications. However, even more damming was the 11,205 customers who had elected to self-exclude themselves from the company’s website who did not have their account balances returned to them on the closure of their accounts. Now, it shouldn’t have taken an investigation costing any amount of money to figure out that this is theft, pure and simple.

The action itself is bad enough but what is truly concerning is that bookmakers think that this is an acceptable way to treat a customer. That is the equivalent of a member unsubscribing from Heads&Heads and us refusing to stop the monthly charges. It is utterly absurd! If you lose a customer, don’t blame the customer, look at why and do better……..be better.

The most relevant crime to us as matched bettors was that the investigation found 41 (yes….41!) Leo Vegas (and their affiliates) website advertisements that misled customers by failing to include ‘significant’ offer limitations or failing to make those limitations sufficiently clear.

This is good news for us – potentially. If bookies continue to use Offers to entice new and existing customers, the more transparent they are required to be will likely lead to better and more lucrative offers. After all, if an offer must show everything clearly to the customer (warts and all), it will become a competition to see who can make their offer the most attractive – rather than a competition to see who can hide the most stuff deep in their terms and conditions.

On the flip side, it may push bookies away from offers altogether. However, we still see this as unlikely. Such a tactic would only work if the bookies had enough public trust to grow organically with very few push tactics. And public trust is not something the bookmakers have a lot of at the moment…..particularly if the Gambling Commission continues to shine a light on their practices that is equally as bright as the one which has just hovered over Leo Vegas.