The consumer protection agency says many operators’ terms and conditions set unreasonable withdrawal limits and requirements.
Sweden.- The consumer protection agency Konsumentverket has blasted the gaming industry for subjecting customers to “unreasonable” terms and conditions.
After reviewing 13 randomly selected Swedish-licensed gaming operators, it said that terms and conditions included overly strict withdrawal limits and requirements as well as inadequate information about the resolution of disputes.
It carried out the review between May and June, inspecting the terms and conditions presented by AG Communications (Karamba), Bayton (Jackpot City Casino), Blue Star Planet (10bet), ComeOn Group, Ellmount Gaming (Casinoroom), Genesis Global, Interwetten, MOA Gaming (Mobilautomaten), Pixel Bet, Smarkets, Svenska Spel, Videoslots and Zecure Gaming (Guts).
It concluded that there was “significant room for improvement” in the terms and conditions of all the companies audited.
The review identified unfair limits on withdrawals, finding that three operators had absolute weekly limits while others required verification for higher withdrawals or introduced other requirements that effectively limited withdrawals.
It said: “It appears from several contract terms that the gaming companies, at their own discretion, have the right to limit one consumer from withdrawing their winnings.
“It also appears that the companies reserve the right to, for example, refuse to process a withdrawal if the consumer has violated any provisions of the terms, and that they may divide sums into instalments.
“Common to several of the companies’ terms is that it is not clear in which situations the company has the right to refuse withdrawals.”
The agency also said that identity requirements for withdrawals were often overly strict, noting that one operator requested proof of “eye colour, height, weight and ethnic origin.”
Konsumentverket said: “Such demands from gaming companies must be reasonable and directly associated with measures considered necessary to counter money laundering.
“The Swedish Consumer Agency considers that conditions are limiting the consumer’s right to withdraw his money and where the conditions are unclear and unclearly formulated, may be considered unreasonable.”
The majority of terms and conditions also included overly strict requirements for complaints, the agency said, while the terms presented by four operators violated European Union law by implying that a non-Swedish court would have jurisdiction in the case of any dispute. The majority failed to mention a Swedish dispute resolution body.
It said: “The Swedish Consumer Agency believes that this is something that should be done to make it apparent from the terms of the contract that the customer possesses protection under Swedish law.
“In cases where information on alternative dispute resolution is missing or incomplete, the Swedish Consumer Agency considers that it is contrary to law and creates an imbalance between the parties, where the consumer is not informed what rights and opportunities he has in a dispute.”
Konsumentverket said it has sent its assessment to all licensees and to Sweden’s national gaming regulator, Spelinspektionen. It says will check that operators improve following its comments and may apply “additional supervisory measures” if they don’t.