The CMA is investigating whether online gambling companies are treating their customers fairly.


Date Action
June 2017 Next investigation update
21 October 2016 Investigation launched

Update 18 January 2017

When the CMA launched its investigation in October 2016, we asked consumers to provide further information and evidence on the concerns we’d highlighted. In light of the information provided, we wrote to certain additional operators and are now also requesting information on certain issues relating to free bet promotions. We’re particularly concerned about information we’ve received suggesting that players may be placing sports bets, which according to the terms of a promotion qualify them for a free bet, only later to be told they’re not eligible for the promotion.

Case information

21 October 2016: The launch of this investigation follows concerns raised by the Gambling Commission about potential breaches of consumer law in the online gambling industry. The CMA has conducted an initial review of complaints information and a number of gambling firms’ promotions and terms and conditions. We are now launching an investigation to determine whether we should exercise our consumer protection powers to tackle unfair or misleading behaviour in the industry.

We are especially concerned that players may be losing out as a result of:

  • Being locked into complex and strict requirements linked to gaming promotions that are difficult to understand and may be unachievable.

  • Companies having a wide discretion to cancel bets or alter odds after bets have been accepted, because they made a mistake when the odds were first set.

  • Terms restricting players’ ability to challenge a company’s decision.

See our press release above for a full list of our concerns.

The investigation is part of a joint programme of work with the Gambling Commission, to tackle issues around fairness and transparency in the gambling industry. We expect to provide an update in early 2017.


We would like to hear from you if you have experience of these issues. Please contact us at and state clearly in the subject line of your email whether the information relates to sign-up promotions, altered odds or cancelled bets, or terms that restrict the ability to claim.

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