When prize promos using premium rate lines get lottery laws wrong, the Gambling Commission and premium line regulator PayphonePlus may both be considering enforcement action. Now these bodies have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding for a common approach, but what about other enforcers who might also be concerned? Nick Johnson reports.
Topic: Promotion marketing
Who: PhonepayPlus, Gambling Commission
Where: United Kingdom
When: 5 June 2008
Law stated as at: 25 June 2008
The Gambling Commission and PhonepayPlus (formerly ICSTIS) have agreed and published a Memorandum of Understanding (see here), which they say "provides a framework for the adoption of a common approach to resolving certain issues related to gambling and premium rate services (PRS) that might result in consumer harm".
The MoU sets out some principles as to how the two regulators should deal between them with issues that fall under both of their jurisdictions. These could include draws and competitions with a premium rate phone or text element that fall foul of the Gambling Act 2005.
The principles do not raise many surprises and essentially boil down to:
1. if the Gambling Commission receives a complaint that falls outside its jurisdiction and should be dealt with by PhonepayPlus, then it will pass the complaint over (and vice versa).
2. if either regulator receives a complaint that also falls within the other's jurisdiction then it will notify the other and they will jointly agree how to proceed.
3. the regulators have also committed to a level of ongoing information sharing on industry developments and policy matters.
Why this matters:
The move towards more joined-up regulation as between the Gambling Commission and PhonepayPlus should be applauded. But it's perhaps puzzling that the MoU's framework hasn't been extended to other key regulators such as Ofcom, the ASA and Trading Standards officers.
It's not hard to think of examples where all of these regulators could potentially be involved. And indeed the Ayre Report commissioned by Ofcom last year (see here) specifically highlighted this issue in the context of participation TV. Given the risk of different bodies coming to separate conclusions on the same issues, wouldn't a co-ordinated approach between all of these regulators make sense?