Why are Terms & Conditions suddenly becoming more prominent?

All change please

You might have noticed a subtle change in bingo sites recently.

In recent weeks, most sites have altered their promotional banners and images. It looks like these changes have been made to adhere to relatively new UK gaming laws.

Earlier this year, in March, the UK Gambling Commission referenced these changes in a statement. This document particularly underlines changes in the law which affect how sites advertise promotions.

An example of the changes from 888bingo.

An example of the changes from 888bingo.

To summarise one key section of this document: players should not be able to accept or take an offer without first seeing the related Terms & Conditions.

As a result, sites have started highlighting parts of their T&Cs on promotional banners and images.

This isn’t limited to certain sites as entire networks have started implementing changes. That includes the Live Bingo Network and the Dragonfish Bingo Network.

Adhering to this new piece of legislation has taken some time, but now, you should start seeing the phrase “T&Cs Apply” a lot more.

Fair and open

Why though?

For that, we have to look at the Gambling Commission’s statement (entitled Statement of principles for licensing and regulation March 2015).

According to the document, operators should ensure that all gambling is conducted “in a fair and open way”.

Sites are frequently regulated to make sure games remain fair – that’s common practice.

Clearly, there were issues with how “open” sites were being about their offers.

Another section from the document goes into a bit more detail on this. The rules “must be transparent” to players and everybody should know what to expect when they opt in or accept an offer.

Another example, this time from the Live Bingo Network.

Another example, this time from the Live Bingo Network.

Calling a bonus “free” isn’t enough. While looking at an offer, the player must be one click away from the site’s full Terms & Conditions.

Everybody needs to be fully aware of what they’re buying into.

That means wagering requirements, max/min spends and any win caps that apply must be displayed alongside the offer.

Transparency is vital

A recent speech from Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, underlined how important transparency is to minimise harm in gambling.

In particular, the Chief Executive referenced a survey conducted in recent months by the Commission.

She highlighted that a third of players “were not aware of available information to help them control their gambling”.

According to the speech, the entire industry has a role to play in preventing harm. The Chief Executive also stated that the Commission’s objectives include ensuring all gaming “is conducted in a fair and open way”.

One final example from the Best Bingo Network.

One final example from the Best Bingo Network.

This reiterates one of the key points from the licensing and regulation statement from March.

The Gambling Commission also wants to see “clear evidence” that operators are applying “intellectual and commercial experience, and innovation, to social responsibility”.

It seems that sites are now providing that “clear evidence” with new policies around promotions/T&Cs.

Best for business

It’s a big change for bingo sites, but everybody is going to reap the benefits.

Players can easily see the terms that they are agreeing to before they agree to anything. This prevents sites from tying them into hidden conditions.

Sites may also be perceived in a better light too. By outlining their T&Cs clearly and openly, players will view them as honest places to play.

Operators and networks are clearly placing the social needs of the players first. Moves like this also help make gambling safer and more enjoyable for all.

This is the first major public step in what is likely to be a long campaign for the Gambling Commission, but any changes that help create an open, fair industry should be welcomed with open arms.

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