Lisa Cheban | 23 June, 2023 15:49 | Last update on: 23 June, 2023 15:49
The UK Gambling Commission has been walking the talk lately by fining operators found breaking the country’s gambling laws. The latest casualty is Flutter Entertainment after the Gambling Commission fined two of its leading brands for social responsibility failures.
The regulator penalized online casinos Paddy Power and Betfair £490,000 ($604,000) for sending promotional push alerts to clients who had self-excluded. Paddy Power was accused of sending improved odds messages to devices that were either associated with accounts registered with the online self-exclusion service Gamstop or that had self-excluded from the operator. Gambling Commission said the offences we committed in a 2021 EPL match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United.
According to the Commission, the conduct violated the country’s gambling regulatory guidelines, which mandate that gaming companies take all necessary precautions to stop marketing materials from reaching customers enrolled in self-excluded programs. In addition, the terms of British gaming licenses require gambling businesses to remove everyone on the list of Gamstop from their marketing databases within two days.
Commenting on the fine, the Gambling Commission executive director of operations, Kay Roberts, remarked: “Although there is no evidence the marketing was intentional, nor that all the people with apps saw the notification or that self-excluded customers were allowed to gamble, we take such breaches seriously.
Roberts added that the Commission advises all operators to learn from Betfair and Paddy Power’s failures and ensure that their systems are strong enough to always prevent self-excluded customers from receiving promotional material.
On their part, Ian Brown, Flutter’s CEO in the UK and Ireland, commented: “Flutter’s ambition is to lead the industry in safer gambling, and we apologise for this mistake. The push notification in question was sent in error and, once discovered by our team, we took immediate steps to rectify the issue and proactively notified the Gambling Commission.”
The CEO added that Flutter knows there were no complaints to the UKGC or Paddy Power regarding the messages. He reiterated Flutter’s commitment to high-level responsibility in the operations and working closely with the regulator in all areas.
Flutter-owned Paddy Power and Betfair are the latest operators to be fined by the UKGC for social responsibility failures. The Commission recently fined William Hill £19.2 million, citing “widespread and alarming” errors leading to consumers losing tens of thousands of pounds within minutes of signing up.
These fines came when the Government’s published the long-awaited gambling White Paper last month. It has far-reaching reforms to make online gambling safer. The paper also included stricter affordability checks and limits on online slot machine wagers. However, most of the suggestions are still subject to further consultations.