Sky Bet Fined £1m by UK Gambling Commission

Sky Bet Fined £1m by UK Gambling CommissionThe UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has just handed Sky Bet a £1 million fine for a number of failures in the company’s self-exclusion procedures which resulted in 736 self-excluded patrons being able to open duplicate accounts and gamble on the site.
In addition, roughly 50,000 customers continued to receive promotional marketing material after being self-excluded, while a further 36,748 customers failed to have their money returned to them after being self-excluded from Sky Bet.
Serious Failure
UKGC programme director Richard Watson thanked Sky Bet for reporting the issues quickly once discovered, and for cooperating fully with with the ensuing investigation. Nevertheless, the case was described as a “serious failure” that justified a strong response from the regulator.
“Protecting consumers from gambling-related harm is a priority for us and where we see operators failing in their responsibility to keep their customers safe we will take tough action,” explained Watson.
Improving Processes
Meanwhile, Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint offered his apologies for the mistakes made by the firm, and said that he would do its best to make sure such instances do not occur again,with measures now including having a team of 60 people tasked with monitoring players for unusual behavior. Furthermore, Sky Bet has already started returning outstanding account balances to self-excluded customers “wherever possible and practical”, and has also launched a media campaign explaining to customers how they can set control in order to limit their own gambling activities.
“We aim to further improve through collaboration across the industry, with the Gambling Commission, and with relevant experts on responsible gambling,” said Flint.
Previous Industry Fines
The UKGC has handed out a number of huge fines over the years, with Sky Bet becoming just the fifth company to receive a six figure penalty, behind 888 (£7.8m), William Hill (£6.2m), Camelot (£3m), and Ladbrokes Coral (£2.3m).
Other operators receiving smaller, but still significant penalties include Gala-Coral (£846k), Betfred (£800k), GVC Holdings (£350k), BGO (£300k), Paddy Power (£280k), Futgalaxy (£265k), and Stan James Online (£80k).
Making iGambling More Risk-Free
The UK has one of the most progressive and lucrative online gambling industries in the world, and in 2017 generated profits of £4.7 billion, up by 10% from the previous year. Around 9 million people placed online bets in 2017, with public participation having now increased from 15.5% in 2014 to last year’s figure of 18.3%. In order to ensure customers stay well-protected in such a rapidly expanding environment, this week, the UKGC published its much anticipated review of the country’s online gambling market, and laid out a range of recommendations. As Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, commented:
“Britain has the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and we are continually looking for ways to make it even fairer and safer for consumers”.
Recommendations
Amongst the slew of changes proposed by the UKGC is the banning of free-to-play demo games until a customer’s age has been confirmed, improving age verification processes, and limits being applied to consumer accounts until affordability checks have been carried out.
In addition, measures have been proposed to address unacceptable marketing and advertising practices, and to improve a gambling company’s complaint procedures while also requiring staff to be better trained in identifying those players at risk of becoming problem gamblers.
This month, the UKGC also provided its recommendation for the country’s lucrative fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) industry, proposing that stakes should be brought down from £100 to £30 for non slots games such as roulette, and to as low as £2 for slots based games. Finally, the UKGC is currently considering curbing or even prohibiting the use of credit cards for gamblers so as to reduce the risk of consumers gambling beyond their means.


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