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UKGC – Industry warning notice: use of non-disclosure clauses (NDAs)

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UKGC - Industry warning notice: use of non-disclosure clauses (NDAs)Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

“We have become aware that some licensees have been including non-disclosure clauses within settlement agreements with consumers and we are continuing our investigation into these. Some of these agreements may have had the effect of preventing those consumers from reporting regulatory concerns to us, by either excluding disclosure to any third party or, in some cases, explicitly preventing customers from contacting the Gambling Commission.

We recognise that in certain commercial contexts, use of NDAs is commonplace and such agreements, when used properly, can benefit both parties. Examples of appropriate use might include resolving supplier or intellectual property disputes. This statement should not be taken to prohibit the use of NDAs in appropriate circumstances.

However, we are keen to ensure that:

  • non-disclosure clauses do not result in consumers feeling they are unable to notify the Commission or other regulators or law enforcement agenciesof conduct which might otherwise be reported
  • licensees notify the Commission of offences under the Gambling Act, including breaches of licence conditions or social responsibility codes of practice
  • consumers do not refrain from reporting matters to the Commission because they anticipate a settlement which contains a condition that states they will not complain to the Commission
  • those suffering gambling-related harm can freely discuss their gambling history with treatment providers.

This statement provides a reminder of some of the key issues and risks of which licensees should be aware.

Requirements

As set out in paragraph 4.2 of our Statement of principles for licensing and regulation, the Commission expects operators to:

  • work with the Commission in an open and co-operative way
  • comply with both the letter and spirit of their licence and associated Commission regulations
  • disclose to the Commission anything which the Commission would reasonably expect to know
  • conduct their business with integrity
  • act with due care, skill, and diligence
  • take care to organise and control their affairs responsibly and effectively and have adequate systems and controls to minimise the risks to the licensing objectives
  • have due regard to the interests of consumers and treat them fairly
  • have due regard to the information needs of consumers and communicate with them in a way that is clear and not misleading.

Similar expectations apply to personal licensees and any attempt to prevent a person from complaining or providing information to us about regulatory failings will contravene these provisions.

Licence Condition 15 of the Licence conditions and codes of practicerequires operators to:

  • as soon as reasonably practicable provide the Commission or ensure that the Commission is provided with any information that they know relates to or suspect may relate to the commission of an offence under the Act, including an offence resulting from a breach of a licence condition or a code provision having the effect of a licence condition (15.1.1) (non-betting operators)
  • as soon as reasonably practicable provide the Commission or ensure the Commission is provided with any information from whatever source that they eitherknow relates to or suspect may relate to the commission of an offence under the Act, including an offence resulting from a breach of a licence condition or a code provision having the effect of a licence condition; or suspect may lead the Commission to consider making an order to void a bet. (15.1.2) (betting operators)
  • notify the Commission of any criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency in any jurisdiction to which:
    • the licensee is involved (included, but not limited to investigations of crimes allegedly committed against the licensee or involving the gambling facilities provided under the licence), AND
    • the circumstances are such that the Commission might reasonably be expected to question whether the licensee’s measures to keep crime out of gambling had failed (15.2.1, paragraph 19b)
  • notify the Commission upon the making of a disclosure pursuant to section 330, 331, 332 or 338 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or section 19, 20, 21, 21ZA, 21ZB or 21A of the Terrorism Act 2000 (a suspicious activity report) (15.2.1 para .24)

Other reporting requirements (such as those under condition 15.2.2) may also be relevant, depending on the circumstances of each case.

Our expectations

We consider that non-disclosure clauses would be improperly used if their effect was to:

  • prevent, impede or deter, a person from:
    • reporting misconduct, or a breach of our regulatory requirements to us, or making an equivalent report to any other body responsible for supervising or regulating the matters in question
    • making a protected disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
    • reporting an offence to a law enforcement agency
    • co-operating with a criminal investigation or prosecution
    • seeking treatment for problem gambling and discussing their gambling history with treatment providers
  • influence the substance of such a report, disclosure or co-operation

Non-disclosure clauses or other settlement terms must not stipulate, and the person expected to agree the settlement agreement must not be given the impression, that reporting or disclosure as set out above is prohibited. It may be appropriate for the settlement agreement itself to be clear about what disclosures are not prohibited by the non-disclosure clause.

For avoidance of doubt:

  • the above expectations apply to any clause which purports to restrict disclosure to third parties, and not just clauses which specifically name the Gambling Commission
  • compliance with the above expectation will not be achieved by including an exemption clause in the settlement agreement which states that a customer may report the matter to a regulator if they are required to do so.

If a customer in the course of negotiating a settlement agreement states that they intend to report a matter to the Commission, we expect licensees will normally be able to inform the customer that they have already self-reported the incident. In appropriate cases the licensee may also have made a suspicious activity report and informed us of this, in accordance with paragraph 24 of Licence Condition 15.2.1.

When there is a failure to self-report to us as required by Licence Condition 15, and there has also been a settlement agreement containing an NDA concluded in relation to the underlying facts, this may be seen as an aggravating factor in any regulatory action the Commission may choose to take.

If the agreement is or forms part of a settlement agreement under the Employment Rights Act 1996, you should ensure that you are aware of the requirements governing those agreements, including for the employee to be in receipt of independent advice. You will also need to ensure that the NDA does not include clauses known to be unenforceable.

Enforcement action

Failure to take this statement into account may result in regulatory action.”

 

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: UKGC – Industry warning notice: use of non-disclosure clauses (NDAs)

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Sweden to Consider Online Casino Advertising Ban

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Sweden to Consider Online Casino Advertising BanReading Time: 1 minute

 

Sweden’s government is going to ban advertising by online casinos and other forms of gambling as it seeks to tackle a rise in addiction, sending shares in the sector lower.

At the start of the year, Sweden tightened the rules for gambling firms and called on the industry to put in place a code of conduct to protect vulnerable consumers. But measures have not gone far enough.

“There is scope for the commissioner to recommend a total or partial ban on gambling advertising,” Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi said.

The commission’s remit will include looking at whether to treat advertising of online gambling in the same way as adverts for alcohol and tobacco, limits on advertising bonuses, jackpots and free-plays and whether to limit advertising during live sporting events such as football matches.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Sweden to Consider Online Casino Advertising Ban

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GambleAware Launches “No Bet Inn” in Liverpool as Part of Bet Regret Campaign

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GambleAware Launches “No Bet Inn” in Liverpool as Part of Bet Regret CampaignReading Time: 1 minute

 

GambleAware has Launched “No Bet Inn” in Liverpool as part of Bet Regret campaign. The Bet Regret campaign aims to give support for the young men aged 16–34 who gamble regularly. New research conducted for GambleAware revealed that 58% of 18–44 year-old male sports bettors agree that they make impulsive bets in the heat of the moment.

“Some of my fondest memories of playing football were with Liverpool, so it was great to have a chat with fellow fans and watch the current team play, and it was genuinely nice to watch a full match in the No Bet Inn without the distraction of a mobile in anyone’s hand. No checking Instagram, no updating Facebook and crucially, no betting in-play or whilst drinking. It’s crazy to see the number of fans placing ill-considered bets and regretting it afterwards, so it was great to remind people to think twice before betting, avoid Bet Regret and just enjoy the game,” Garcia, famous football player said.

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, said: “We created the No Bet Inn as a demonstration of our Bet Regret campaign and to make football fans think hard about their betting habits. At the No Bet Inn, people could enjoy the game and avoid BetRegret. The is one part of a national campaign for safer gambling which launched in February to raise awareness of behaviours that people might not always recognise as impulsive or risky, such as sports betting when drunk, bored or chasing losses.”

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: GambleAware Launches “No Bet Inn” in Liverpool as Part of Bet Regret Campaign

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Nielsen Releases “Esports Playbook for Brands” 2019

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Nielsen Releases “Esports Playbook for Brands” 2019Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Nielsen, the US-based global information and measurement company, has released its 2019 “Esports Playbook for Brands.

According to Esports Playbook for Brands, non-gaming brand involvement in esports has increased by 13% over the past year. Mainstream brands outside of traditional video game brands are entering the space.

Nielsen points out that 90% of U.S. esports viewers on Twitch can name at least one non-gaming sponsor; 70% of U.S. Twitch users spend more time engaging with esports than they do with traditional sports.

“Esports fans respect and welcome those brands that embrace what they already love, and get the need for the revenue and exposure that sponsors, distributors, and content creators bring with them,” says Bobby Sharma, founding partner of the Esports advisory firm Electronic Sports Group, in the playbook.

“But they also know when they are being used as test subjects… and that is where things can go awry,” he adds.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Nielsen Releases “Esports Playbook for Brands” 2019

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