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February 4, 2019
The Commission has become aware that some licensees have been including non-disclosure clauses within settlement agreements with consumers. The Commission is continuing investigation into these. The Commission is concerned that some of these agreements may have had the effect of preventing those consumers from reporting regulatory concerns to the regulator, by either excluding disclosure to any third party or, in some cases, explicitly preventing customers from contacting the Commission.
The Commission recognises that in certain commercial contexts, use of NDAs is commonplace and such agreements, when used properly, can benefit both parties. Examples of appropriate use might include resolving supplier or intellectual property disputes. Therefore, it says, this statement should not be taken to prohibit the use of NDAs in appropriate circumstances.
However, the Commission is keen to ensure that:
- non-disclosure clauses do not result in consumers feeling they are unable to notify it or other regulators or law enforcement agencies of conduct which might otherwise be reported;
- licensees notify the Commission of offences under the Gambling Act 2005, including breaches of licence conditions or social responsibility codes of practice;
- consumers do not refrain from reporting matters to the Commission because they anticipate a settlement which contains a condition that states they will not complain to the Commission; and
- those suffering gambling-related harm can freely discuss their gambling history with treatment providers.
The statement goes on to provide a reminder of some of the key issues and risks of which licensees should be aware. The Commission reminds licensees that failure to take the statement into account may result in regulatory action. To access the statement in full, click here.