One particular topic we focused on was a recent ruling by the Gambling Commission in which it fined operator TonyBet. The operator had allowed customers to freely deposit but later imposed stringent checks before they could withdraw funds.
While Dugher and the BGC do not comment on individual cases, he went on to discuss player withdrawals more generally, while the conversation also covered social media and the potential need for an industry Ombudsman.
At last year’s AGM, the Gambling Commission felt like an easy target. You can see why it gets the criticism it does. Recently, however, the Commission received a lot of praise (even from ardent critics) for its ruling on TonyBet. Do you think this sets a precedent for future rulings – and what are your thoughts on player/operator withdrawals as a whole?
Firstly, I can’t comment on individual operators or settlements from the Gambling Commission. It’s something we never do; the Commission have to be able to go through the process they do and reach an outcome.
On the broader issue of withdrawals, the overall majority of punters get paid out. So I do think the issue is massively overstated. I know the Commission are looking at this – and we’re talking to them about this as well. But the overwhelming majority of punters get paid out quickly and rightly so.
One of the things we’ve talked about more broadly is having an Ombudsman; so when you have punters on the warpath, it might be something the Ombudsman can look at
Occasionally, where there are issues, it’s normally to do with AML. And I think the Gambling Commission – and we would support them on this – have very strict rules around AML. So rightly there will be incidents where extra checks are put in place.
You did make a point earlier in the AGM about the use of Twitter. If you believe the issue is overstated, is too much attention paid by gambling critics to individual complaints on social media?
I hate to break this to everyone but sometimes people tell lies on Twitter. There will be individuals who are gaming the system, who are abusing terms and conditions – and trying to pull a fast one.
Ultimately, the AML checks are there for a reason. We want to keep gambling crime-free. So when it comes to Twitter, you take it with a pinch of salt. But I know that a lot of these individual cases have been drawn to the regulator and they talk to us about them within both our remits.
One of the things we’ve talked about more broadly is having an Ombudsman; so when you have punters on the warpath, it might be something the Ombudsman can look at.