The Gambling Commission has handed a record penalty to 888 citing that there were “serious failings in its handling of vulnerable customers.”
The regulator’s investigation highlighted a technical fault allowing 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude themselves from their 888 casino, poker or sports accounts were still able to gamble by using their 888 bingo accounts.
Te Gambling Commission states that,
“Self-exclusion is a facility for those that have decided that they wish to stop gambling for at least six months and wish to be supported in their decision to stop. If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling – whether online or in gambling premises – you can ask to be ‘self-excluded’.
It is up to you to stick to your self-exclusion agreement, but if you try to gamble during that time the gambling business should take reasonable steps to prevent you from doing so.”
Another customer showing visible signs of problem gambling bet more than £1.3m over 13 months before he was identified as having a problem. The player was averaging 3 to 4 hours per day on the site and resulted in him resorting to criminal activity, stealing £55,000 from his employer to aid his betting habit.
The penalty package will see 888 pay £7.8million, which includes repayment of the £3.5million of deposits made by the self-excluded customers and compensation of £62k to the employer from whom money was stolen. A further £4.25million will be paid to a socially responsible cause to invest in measures to tackle gambling-related harm.
The Gambling Commission’s public statement can be read at this pdf link.