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Report Claims Paddy Power, Other Bookmakers Spying on Punters

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Nov/01/2016

  • Betting companies accused of using intrusive trackers to gather information on customers
  • Tactics help to prevent successful gamblers from winning
  • Risk management team carried out background checks and even reviewed Google Maps in an effort to determine their likely income
  • One bookmaker already found to be in violation of data protection law

The Irish Times on Tuesday reported that the UK’s third largest bookmaker, Paddy Power, and others have been spying on customers by using intrusive online trackers and social media background checks.

According to the shock report, legal experts are claiming possible privacy infringement.

Sources told the paper that the practice is widespread and used specifically to prevent successful gamblers from winning.

From the Irish Times:

One senior source who worked in Paddy Power before its €1.3 billion merger with Betfair this year said that traders who operated on risk-management teams often carried out background checks on social media and looked at people’s homes on Google Maps in an effort to determine their likely income.

“You check who they’re friends with and what they like on Facebook to see if they have good connections. Everyone does that. If a guy is betting a lot you want to see where he lives. That’s what you have to do in your job, your bonus is affected by it,” the source said.

“If someone is betting a lot you look up their account and see what you can learn about them. If they’re having big bets and live in a normal house, you want to know if you’re taking their inheritance off them or if they’ve built up a big bankroll to play with.”

Software trackers were also used – usually without a punter’s knowledge – in order to gather additional personal information.

In the trading room punters are tracked by software and marked as low-risk or high-risk, the Irish Times reported.

Brian Chappell, founder of the campaign group Justice4Punters, said the tracker sold by Iovation, is intrusive despite claims that bookmakers use it primarily to detect money laundering.  Chappell this year was able to demonstrate to the UK Gaming Commission that bookmaker Skybet had been in breach of data protection law.

“It is a standard practice across the bookmakers. The best way to think about it is a jigsaw where every piece of information obtained is like a piece to give a full picture,” Mr Chappell told the Irish Times.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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