BGC calls for ombudsman to enhance consumer complaints process

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on the government to strengthen the gambling sector’s customer complaints process by establishing an industry ombudsman.

Although a system for dealing with customer complaints already exists, the betting and gaming industry standards body has argued that the creation of an ombudsman would improve consistency of the process as well as its general performance and effectiveness.

In the organisation’s official statement, Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, outlined his belief that the BGC’s support for a gambling ombudsman was ‘further proof’ of the regulated industry’s ‘determination to drive up standards’.

“This is further evidence of the BGC’s determination to drive up standards in the regulated betting and gaming industry,” Dugher remarked.

“We hope that the government will look favourably on our calls for a gambling ombudsman to be established as soon as possible following the conclusion of the gambling review, which we strongly support.

“The BGC and its members recognise the need for further change in our industry and a new gambling ombudsman would be a step forward in customer redress – I’m proud to be giving it our backing.”

As the representative of betting shops, casinos and online operators, the BGC has proposed that all licensed gambling companies should be legally required to sign up to the new ombudsman.

The call comes as the government continues with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act and general overhaul of the UK’s regulatory infrastructure and oversight of the gambling industry, a process which has seen discussions regarding consumer protection repeatedly take a key role.

Conor Grant, Chief Executive of Flutter UK and Ireland, said: “At the heart of our business is a focus on our customers – both delivering great entertainment and making sure that it is always underpinned by increasingly robust safer gambling practices.

“And true commitment to putting customers first also means making sure that they have somewhere independent to go if something does go amiss – that is why Flutter is fully behind the call from the BGC today for the government to include an ombudsman in its plans for reform of the gambling industry.”

The notion of an independent ombudsman for the gambling industry was previously supported by Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), who outlined plans for the new body to conduct analysis of banking data in order to identify consumers ‘in need of support and protection from gambling related harm’.

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