Gibraltar-based, UK-listed online gambling company 888 Holdings Plc has been fined by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) a record penalty of £7.8m over its failings to protect vulnerable and problem gamblers.
The UKGC highlighted a technical failure which meant 7,000 customers who had chosen to banned themselves from gambling from their 888 accounts were still able to gamble.
UKGC said in a statement on Thursday : “The issue went undetected for a prolonged period of time, meaning customers were able to deposit £3.5million into their accounts, and then continue to gamble, for over 13 months. While 888 did have self-exclusion procedures in place, they were not robust enough and failed to protect potentially vulnerable customers,”
“The customer staked over £1.3million, including £55k stolen from their employer. During a 13 month period the customer placed a large number of bets, gambling on average 3-4 hours a day. The lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling, raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at-risk of gambling harm”
Chief executive at the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison, stated: “Safeguarding consumers is not optional; this penalty package 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 commented in a statement on Thursday that it “accepts the Conclusion of the review and is committed to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience.”
The customer’s deposit of £3.5 million is included in the penalty and it will be given back to the self-excluded customers.