Posts Tagged ‘Practices’

UK Regulator Settles on Agreement with Gaming Operators Over Unfair Deposit Bonus Practices

 UK Regulator Settles on Agreement with Gaming Operators Over Unfair Deposit Bonus Practices

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority [CMA] announced last week that three online gambling operators who were under investigation for unfair promotional practices have agreed to change said practices to make them more consumer-friendly. The three operators – Ladbrokes, William Hill, and PT Entertainment – have all signed documents laying out what will now be expected of them.

The issue at hand has to do with deposit bonuses and how they are promoted and marketed. Anyone who has played online poker or tried their hand at online casino games in the past decade and a half (at least) is familiar with the banner ads: “Deposit $ 100 Get $ 100 Free!” or “25% Deposit Match up to $ 1,000!”

Of course, it is not as simple as that. There are playthrough requirements, withdrawal restrictions, and more. And that’s where the CMA’s problem with the gaming operators lies. When it launched an investigation last June, the CMA was concerned that “people often don’t get the deal they are expecting as the promotions come with an array of terms and conditions that are often confusing and unclear and, in some cases, may be unfair.”

The press release at the time continued:

Customers might have to play hundreds of times before they are allowed to withdraw any money, so they don’t have the choice to quit while they’re ahead and walk away with their winnings when they want to.

Even when players haven’t signed up for a promotion, there are concerns that some operators are stopping customers taking money out of their accounts. The CMA has been told by customers that some firms have minimum withdrawal amounts far bigger than the original deposit, or place hurdles in the way of them withdrawing their money.

“We know online gambling is always going to be risky, but firms must also play fair. People should get the deal they’re expecting if they sign up to a promotion, and be able to walk away with their money when they want to,” CMA Senior Director for Consumer Enforcement Nisha Arora said.

“Sadly, we have heard this isn’t always the case. New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them. And players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.”

The bottom line of the agreement with the operators is that all playthrough requirements – the amount of gambling that is required to earn a bonus – must be very clear and easy to access before a player signs up and while the person is playing. Additionally, players must be able to cash out their original deposit whenever they would like.

The CMA’s summary of the rules is as follows:

• Players won’t be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money
• Gambling firms must ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are made clear to players, and cannot rely on vague terms to confiscate players’ money
• Gambling firms must not oblige players to take part in publicity

UK Gambling Commission Executive Director, Sarah Gardner, chimed in:

We back the action taken by the CMA today. Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.

We expect all Gambling Commission licensed businesses to immediately review the promotions and sign up deals they offer customers and take whatever steps they need to take, to the same timescales agreed by the three operators, to ensure they comply.

The post UK Regulator Settles on Agreement with Gaming Operators Over Unfair Deposit Bonus Practices appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. Settles Corrupt Practices Probe, Pays Fine

 Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. Settles Corrupt Practices Probe, Pays Fine

The Las Vegas Sands Corp., headed by online poker’s top enemy, Sheldon Adelson, has agreed to pay a $ 6.96 million criminal penalty to settle a federal case in which the government was investigating the company’s potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The issue at hand stems back nearly seven years to 2010, when Steven Jacobs, who headed up Las Vegas Sands’ business in China for nine months, sued the company for unlawful termination. As Bloomberg.com worded it, Jacobs “accused Adelson of directing him to collect evidence on Macau government officials that could be used to ‘exert leverage’ on them to thwart regulation unfavorable to Sands casinos.”

The FCPA, rightfully, says it is illegal for companies and their executives to try to bribe foreign government officials. The one caveat here is that I believe Donald Trump is permitted to do this, especially now that he is President. Well, he doesn’t have anything to do with his businesses anymore, so it probably doesn’t matter. I mean, he told us he’s not going to be involved with his businesses, so I TOTALLY believe him. Not for a moment do I think Donald Trump has ever or will ever do anything shady with governments of other countries.

Jacobs claimed he tried to stop the illegal business practices and for that reason, he was canned.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice reads, in part:

According to admissions by Sands made in connection with the resolution, certain Sands executives knowingly and willfully failed to implement a system of internal accounting controls to adequately ensure the legitimacy of payments to a business consultant who assisted Sands in promoting its brand in Macao and the PRC, and to prevent the false recording of those payments in its books and records.  Sands continued to make payments to the consultant despite warnings from its finance staff and an outside auditor that the business consultant had failed to account for portions of these funds.  In addition, Sands terminated the finance department employee who raised concerns about the payments.  

In total, from 2006 through 2009, Sands paid approximately $ 5.8 million to the business consultant without any discernable legitimate business purpose, it admitted.  

Among those consultant payments was $ 60 million to help the company acquire a Chinese basketball team.

As part of the settlement, Las Vegas Sands admitted no guilt and was not charged with a crime. It sounds lame, but that’s how these things go.

In 2016, Las Vegas Sands reached a similar settlement on the same matter with the Securities and Exchange Commission, paying a $ 9 million fine. After scapegoating people like Jacobs and then getting found out by the U.S. government, the company tried to claim it was just ignorant, just a blind little sheep wandering into the woods (I don’t know what I just wrote).

“We were moving into unexplored territory and we wanted to do some unique things that were structured by attorneys and accountants in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing,” Sands Chief Operating Officer William Weidner said at the time. “I don’t know that you can blame the lawyers who structured the deals.”

“But I think that the fact that I wasn’t disciplined in this matter shows that we were operating in areas that hadn’t been considered by regulators.”

Yeah, ok.

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