The gambling industry watchdog and regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, has now warned its licensees from using gagging orders on its customers, otherwise known as NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) when it comes to dispute settlements that are taken to court.
In a statement that was published by the gambling regulator on 31st January 2018, gambling companies that are based in the UK were told that some NDAs could end up breaching their licensing conditions completely. If gambling operators are found to not strictly adhere to the warning the Commission has given, it has warned that the consequence could end up being regulatory action.
Why has the Gambling Commission got involved?
In part of its statement, the Commission said that it had become aware that a number of operators were using non-disclosure clauses, which ended up having the impact of customers being unable to report regulatory concerns to them. This is because in certain NDAs, customers are prevented from talking about their case to any third party, or in particular settlements, only the Gambling Commission.
Whilst the Gambling Commission understands that NDAs can have their place, (for example, helping to protect suppliers, gambling operators and consumers in certain cases) it does not agree that customer should be forbidden from reporting problems to them, for fear of financial sanctions being used against them.
What are the requirements stated by the Gambling Commission?
The requirements for licensees regarding non-disclosure agreements by the Commission are as follows, as stated in its Statement of principles for licensing and regulation:
- To have due regard to its consumers and treat them fairly
- To conduct their business with integrity
- to comply with the Commission on its associated regulations
- To work alongside the Gambling Commission in an open and co-operative way
When is an NDA considered to be improperly used?
According to the Gambling Commission, a non-disclosure agreement is considered to be unfairly used if:
- the effect is to influence the substance of a co-operation, report or disclosure
- to effect a consumer being able to report a gambling offence to a law enforcement agency
- to prevent a consumer from being able to co-operative with an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution
- preventing a consumer from being able to seek treatment for gambling addiction or from being unable to discuss their gambling history with treatment providers
- being unable to report a breach of regulatory requirements stipulated by the UK Gambling Commission