In the world of gambling, regulations exist to protect players from unscrupulous operators. While you might occasionally find the need for casinos to bend to the will of industry watchdogs as a little annoying, ultimately the rules that are in place have made the online and mobile gambling world a much safe place to play.
One of the most highly regulated aspect of online and mobile gambling is advertising, where dozens of rules are in place to ensure that companies aren’t promising anything dishonest or unrealistic simply to get players through the door. However, even with all these rules in place, some major operators still manage to fall foul of them, and advertise in a misleading way.
That’s what’s come to light with BGO Casino this week, where some mildly dishonest advertising on its own and some related affiliate sites has led to the company being the first to be fined under the UK Gambling Commission’s new oversight powers.
Although it’s only coming to light now, the original offences that BGO is being fined for took place between 2015 and 2016 and involved the casino publishing nine separate adverts on its own site – as well as those of 14 affiliate sites – which the UKGC ruled to be “potentially misleading to customers”. It’s understood that these adverts, although not explicitly lying, did not adequately describe the limitations and requirements behind the bonuses they were promoting.
On top of the original offence of inaccurate advertising, the UKGC also complained that BGO had not taken “timely and effective action” to correct the issues when they came to light and provided “inaccurate assurances”, claiming they had already been addressed. Lying to a regulator is never a good idea in any industry.
Players might not be entirely surprised to hear the name BGO attached to this issue, since the well-known casino has a long history of bombastic sounding, star studded advertising. With names like Vern Troyer and Dan Bilzerian attached to the casino’s promotional material, it has something of an edgy image in the casino world, however the lines between edgy image and dishonest behaviour must not be blurred as they have been in this case.
The exact rules that BGO has broken haven’t been around for that long, having only come into effect since May 2015. Specifically, BGO failed in all nine of the offending ads to clearly state the limitations or rules behind the bonuses it was offering, meaning that players were potentially claiming said bonuses without fully understanding what that would mean for themselves.
The total final bill for the fine was a staggering £354,200. While this might be a huge amount of money for the average person, it’s likely that it’ll merely be a big inconvenience for BGO, who will continue operating, only with a bit more focus on towing the line promotionally. Being merely two years old means that BGO is in fact the very first casino to be fined under the rules, though is unlikely to be the last.