Notably one of Britain’s biggest online gambling companies has been hit with a staggering £7.8million penalty, for serious failings on how it handled its most venerable customers. A number of flaws were overlooked in the companies social responsibility process, a process which was there to protect consumers from any gambling-related harm, such as spending more than they could afford. 888 are a global brand that have been providing online gambling services to millions of customers since 1997.
The Gambling Commission carried out an investigation into 888 and found two major issues;
- Over 7,000 customers who opted to self-exclude themselves from the casino, poker and sport platform found that they were still able to log in and access their accounts via the online bingo platform, and subsequently were able to place wagers, due to a technical failure with 888 systems. During this prolonged 13month period of time, those customers were able to deposit £3.5million into their accounts and gamble on slots, bingo and more, even though they had opted for self-exclusion. Self-exclusion procedures were in place, but they failed to be adequate enough.
- Visible signs of problem gambling were present with one customer, which was so significant, it lead to that customer being involved with criminal activity. During a 13month period, this customer staked over £1.3million, which includes £55,000 stolen from their employer, to bet at least 3 to 4 times a day and 888 failed to interact with the customer, despite the frequency of their bets and the large amounts of cash that were being staked.
Chief executive at the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison said:
“Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8million 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.”
The customers who were directly affected by this blunder will be repaid the money they spent, which adds to £3.5million, a further £62,000 will be paid to the employer who had their cash stolen and £4.25million will be paid to a socially responsible cause which will invest in measures to tackle gambling harm. The Gambling Commission have ordered an independent audit of 888’s customer protection process, for future assurances. One thing’s for certain, 888 won’t be making mistakes like this in the future.
If you think you are gambling too much, Gamble Aware are available for help, support and advice about problem gambling. Contact the National Gambling Helpline on; 0808 8020 133 from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week or you can chat to a live support agent via the live chat facility on the website.