888 Fined £7.8m by Gambling Commission For Allowing Self Excluded Punters To Gamble
The UKGC has made it clear in the last few months that they will not hesitate to enforce the powers they have. Large fines like that of Lottoland and others are a clear message that they mean business and are not just another regulatory body without teeth.
Today however saw something unprecedented as one of the largest UK gambling companies 888 were fined a record £7.8m for allowing 7,000 self-excluded players to continue playing on their sister bingo network.
Following an investigation the UK gambling Commission found that 7,000 customers who had voluntarily self-excluded themselves from playing on the company’s’ casino, sportsbook and poker sites were able to access their account on the 888 bingo platform. This “ loophole” continued for 13 months and enabled customers to depots up to £3.5 m in their accounts.
The Commission was scathing in their finding regarding 888 and said,” While 888 did have self-exclusion procedures in place, they were not robust enough and failed to protect potentially vulnerable customers.”
To make things even worse one such individual was able to stake £1.3m in bets over 13 months of which at least £55,000 of this money was stolen from his employer.
The penalty of £7.8m will be divided among various causes with £4.25m going towards fighting gambling addiction and the rest to the customers affected.
CEO of the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison went on to say,” Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers. The 888 sanction package will ensure those affected don’t lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling-related harm, and that independent assurance will be given to see that lessons are learnt.”
888 reacted to the disastrous publicity and hefty fine by saying,” The company accepts the conclusion of the review and is committed to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience.”
As crazy as it sounds many point out that the outcome for 888 could have been a lot worse as there was talk of them possibly losing their UKGC licence.