The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has grown tired of waiting for BGO Entertainment to make good on its repeated assurances that it would take action to remedy the issues pertaining to its misleading advertisements. As a result, for failing to take "prompt and effective action" to address the issues identified by the UKGC, the regulatory body has slapped the online gambling operator with a £300,000 penalty.
The fact that BGO was fined isn't surprising, especially since BGO's first offence was discovered by the regulator back in July of 2015. The Gambling Commission had given the company ample time to adhere to its promise that it would amend its bad behavior and live up to its obligations under the then newly imposed new social responsibility code provisions as a condition for holding a UKGC license. Yet, "evidence of ongoing breaches" were found as late as October 2016.
Earlier this week, the UKGC announced that it had fined BGO Entertainment Ltd for having misleading ads on its own site and its affiliates' sites. In total, the regulator cited 9 adverts on BGO's website and 14 more on the company's affiliated third party websites. All were in breach of its social responsibility code.
The decision to fine the company marked the first time that the UK Gambling Commission issued an advertising-related financial penalty.
UKGC Programme Director Paul Hope said in a statement that "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."
The regulator has now used this case as a warning to the rest of the industry to ensure marketing is not deceiving consumers or breaching responsibility rules. Those who don't abide by these rules, like BGO, could face enforcement action.