UK Retailers Slammed for Combining Online Casino Games with Shopping

Is it shopping, or is it gambling? UK retailers have adopted a unique way of marketing to their consumer base – by asking them to play for their products. Instead of paying for their goods, customers are encouraged to participate in an online casino style game, spinning a wheel to win their product.

The wheel costs £1 to spin and if you win the product, you’ll be asked for a delivery address. If you don’t win the product, you are under no obligation to buy it. The program, operated by Yipiii Gaming, boasts that you can’t lose – because even when you don’t win the product, you receive points, free spins, in-store discounts or entries into prize draws instead.

But the game has been slammed by politicians and special-interest groups who feel that it is dangerous and promotes gambling. Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said that the companies who took part in the program were irresponsible and deplorable, adding that often wrecked lives were the only thing to come from gambling. Others were more concerned with the fact that Yipiii Gaming is licensed in Malta, where it is unregulated by British watchdogs and not required to register with the British Gambling Commission. Yipiii’s founder, Christoph Klingler, said that his decision to base the company in Malta was due to the process of setting up a licensed gaming business being much faster there.

Casino blog sites report that Marks and Spencer, Asda, Debenhams, Comet, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Dixons and Selfridges are in the process of withdrawing from the program.