888, one of the UK's biggest gambling companies, has been fined over £7.8million after investigations by The Gambling Commission. They discovered that technical failures with regards self exclusion meant that over 7000 customers who had opted out of playing could still gamble online via their accounts.
Players who had excluded themselves on 888's casino, poker or sport platform could still access their accounts on the bingo platform. This issue was undetected for over 13 months and this meant over £3.5million was deposited by these players. The Gambling Commission confirmed that 888 did have self-exclusion procedures in place but that they just weren't robust enough.
Record Penalty Package
The record penalty package also covers 888's failure to recognise problem gambling behaviour. During a 13 month period, one customer staked over £1.3million, including £55k stolen from their employer. 888 failed to interact with the customer who was making regular large bets and this raised concerns over their handling of "at risk" players.
888's penalty package will see £3.5million repaid to the self-excluded customers plus £62,000 will be go as compensation to the employer who had money stolen from the "at risk" customer. The remainder of the fine will benefit a socially responsible cause to invest in measures to tackle gambling-related harm. The Gambling Commission has ordered an independent audit of 888's processes relating to customer protection.
A Valuable Lesson For Online Operators
The Gambling Commission conclude their report by hoping that this "case provides valuable learning for both online and retail operators"! 888 have responded to the fine with their own statement and say that they will "continue to focus on improvement in the area of responsible gaming to ensure we offer the most enjoyable and safest customer experience possible"!
Going forward, 888 will be "expanding and enhancing the algorithms that 888 uses to analyse playing patterns" so that they can identify vulnerable users. They will also lower "the thresholds across certain metrics" so as to get earlier interaction with players. Enhancements will be made to the platforms so that self-exclusion covers everything as well as improvements made to checing where funds come from.
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