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888 Hit With Record £7.8m Penalty

Written by:
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Published on:
Aug/31/2017

The UK’s Gambling Commission has slapped online gambling behemoth 888 with a massive £7.8m fine following an exhaustive investigation into the firm’s social media practices.

The Commission’s investigation revealed the following infractions:

Due to a technical failure in 888’s systems, over 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude(1) from their casino/poker/sport platform were still able to access their accounts on their bingo platform. 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.

888 also failed to recognise visible signs of problem gambling behaviour displayed by an individual customer, which was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity. 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.

Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission said: “Safeguarding consumers is not optional,” said Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission. “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 Commission has also ordered an independent audit of 888’s processes relating to customer protection.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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