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BGO hit with £300k fine

Monday, May 29, 2017 15:36

The decision is a landmark for the industry and marks the first financial penalty imposed by the Gambling Commission for advertising failings.

Initial Concerns


The Gambling Commission first raised concerns about BGO’s advertising conduct in July 2015. The initial investigation established some worrying behaviour from the firm. BGO and its affiliates were found to publish misleading advertisements for promotions which would hide information from the target market. The investigation also found that BGO “did not take timely and effective action to address misleading advertisements” and that BGO “provided inaccurate assurances that the issues had been fully addressed”.

Repeat Offenders


Despite these initial concerns, BGO continued to publish misleading advertisements from when concerns were first raised through to the following year. 9 misleading adverts were published by BGO in this period whilst 14 were found on affiliates’ website last year.
“Despite extensive contact with us, BGO failed to take prompt and effective action to address the issues identified,” said UKGC. “BGO repeatedly provided assurances to us that it understood the requirements and had taken action to ensure that they were met. However, we continued to find evidence that advertisements on BGO’s own website and the websites of third parties were potentially misleading by failing to include significant limitations and qualifications of promotions.”

Gambling Commission Statement


The UKGC Programme Director Paul Hope said: “We want to make sure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly. So, we have made it clear to the industry that misleading advertising is a serious issue. We have powers to tackle it, including the power to impose financial penalties such as this. We want operators to take note that the issues identified in the decision notice are likely to form the basis for future compliance assessments and could lead to enforcement action.”

Licence Conditions And Codes Of Practice


Since its introduction in May 2015, “Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) require all licensed gambling operators to include in their advertisements any significant limitations relating to promotions, to avoid misleading consumers. The Gambling Commission has worked closely with the Advertising Standards Authority” to ensure compliance with these rules. Maintaining advertising standards remains a key objective of the Gambling Commission and this BGO ruling is sure to make companies sit up and take notice.

About BGO


BGO Group is a privately owned online gaming company which currently operates in the regulated European markets. The company was launched in 2012 by Richard Skelholm and Alexander Holt and is endorsed by Verne Troyer, most famous as ‘Mini-Me’ in the Austin Powers film series as well as appearing on Celebrity Big Brother UK. Further advertisements have seen socialites Paris Hilton and Dan Bilzerian feature. With headquarters in Guernsey, BGO offers casino, poker and bingo games to its customers. BGO has become “one of the most dynamic and successful names in the gaming industry” thanks to its innovation and creation.