Gambling Firm 888 Fined by the Gambling Commission for Failing Vulnerable Customers
On 31 August 2017, the Gambling Commission issued a statement that 888 UK Limited is to pay a record penalty of £7.8m for breaching social responsibility codes imposed by the Regulator. 888’s breach was specifically related to customers seeking to self exclude from gambling activity and in failing to identify customers at risk of problem gambling.
Failings around Self Excluding Customers
Online gambling sites are obliged to provide a self exclusion option for gamblers who feel that they are at risk of gambling excessively. The activation of self exclusion functions on a gambling website may help the bettor to prevent themselves from placing too high a stake and / or continuing to gamble online.
The statement released by the Commission explains how more than 7,000 customers who had activated the self exclusion function were nevertheless able to continue gambling, especially on Bingo. Due to 888’s technical failure, customers were able to put £3.5m on their accounts and continue to gamble over a period of 13 months.
As part of the £7.8m penalty package, 888 has set aside £3.5m to compensate the customers affected by the self exclusion failure.
Breach of Customer Identification Requirements
In addition to self exclusion failings, the Commission also found that 888 had failed in its duty to identify customers who were at risk of problem gambling. In one particular case, a customer staked over £1.3m over a period of 13 months, without any interaction or intervention from 888.
Due to 888’s failure to identify vulnerable customers and those seeking to self exclude, many were able to access an alternative account. This was a further breach of the Social Responsibility Code.
Ellis Jones has a specialist litigation team to assist anyone who feels they have lost money following attempts to self exclude from gambling. Please call our litigation Partner, William Fox Bregman, on 01202 525333 for advice on a gambling or gaming
dispute or visit our Betting, Gambling & Gaming page here.