888 Holdings Fined 7.8 Million Pounds for Failing to Protect Customers
888 Holdings, which is one of the biggest British online wagering companies is going to pay a penalty that is the highest so far in the industry. The fine is equal 7.8 million British pounds, which is equal almost 10 million US dollars. The gambling operator got this penalty last week after failing to protect the vulnerable customers from the harms of gambling addiction. The Gambling Commission of the United Kingdom (UKGC) stated that there was a technical problem, a sort of a glitch in the company’s system. The technical glitch ended up allowing more than seven-thousand players from October of 2015, to September of 2016 to accept the platforms of the enterprise where they deposited more than 3.5 million British pounds. The problem is that these players used the self-exclusion program so they don’t have access to the 888 Platform to place any wagers, but they ended up entering it and placing huge bets.
The technical issue lasted for what the UKGC describes as a “Prolonged period”. During such time, the players gambled 50.6 million British pounds in total, and this included deposits as well as recycled winnings, as per the UKGC. The fine that 888 Holding will have to pay, which is equal 7.8 Million Pounds is the biggest yet in the industry.
888 Holdings Platforms and the Glitch that Caused the Problem
888 Holding Operators two different platforms, the first one is for the casino, sports, and poker. The second one is technologically separate, and it is for the Bingo offer. On the other hand, the glitch that occurred allowed the players who excluded themselves from one platform, to be able to access the other. So for example, if a player self-excluded himself from the sport, casino and poker platform, he was still able to access his account on the Bingo platform. That was not all, as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission stated that 888 Holding also failed to recognize the clear signs of the behavior of these players, that indicated problem gambling. The behavior of a certain customer was so clear and significant that it ended up resulting in criminal activity.
The Gambling Commission added that this certain individual placed more than 1.3 million pounds, including 55,000 British pounds that he stole from an 888 Holding employer, and he played for three to four hours each day, over thirteen months. The fine that 888 Holdings is going to pay included the repayment of a total of 3.5 million British pounds that the customers made in deposits (7,000 customers in total), as well as 62,000 pounds as compensation to the employer that had his money stolen from him by the problem gambler. 888 Holdings also agreed to pay an additional 4.25 million pounds to socially responsible causes so they can invest in tackling the harm that is gambling-related.
The Chief Executive of the Gambling commission, Sarah Harrison, stated that protecting vulnerable customers is not something that is optional. She also added that this penalty would make sure 888 Holdings learn its lesson, to make sure such glitches do not occur in the future. 888 Holding stated in a statement that it accepts the review that happened regarding the issue.
According to the data from the Gambling Commission of the UK, the gambling companies in the United Kingdom managed to make over thirteen billion British Pounds in the period between October of 2015 to September of last year. On the other hand, charities always warned that the FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Machines) are very addictive, and they enable the players to lose significant amounts of money in just under a minute.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Media, which is the entity responsible for regulating gambling, released a consolation in October of last year regarding the maximum bets that the FOBTs should offer to players.
Sky Betting To Terminate its UK Affiliate Programme
Sky Betting and Gaming, which is one of the biggest names in the industry in the UK has announced that it is going to terminate its Affiliate Programme in the United Kingdom, starting from October. It added that the reason behind such decision is the regulatory pressure from the Gambling Commission of the United Kingdom.
A spokesperson for the company said that the decision was difficult, but they took it so they can gain more control of their standards and marketing outputs, so they can be sure to keep meeting the changing regulatory requirements in the gambling sector. The Gambling Commission stated that it is going to be taking a tougher approach towards the liability of the operators when it comes to advertising of the affiliates.
Last June, Lottoland agreed to settle with the Gambling Commission and ended up paying 150,000 British Pounds to good charity causes. The payment was part as a result of an advertisement by one of the affiliates of the company, MyVoucherCodes. Also, last May, BGO also paid 300,000 pounds as a penalty by the Gambling Commission because of three of BGO’s affiliates.
Sky Betting’s Procedure To Shut Down its Affiliate Programme
According to the terms of the contracts of Sky Betting, the company has to give its Affiliates a notice of the decision, and with the statement, it stated that it had done that. The company indicated that it had notified all of the affiliates that are going to be affected by the decision. The company also added that it would like to thank all of the companies for the hard work and the support that helped the company to grow, as well as for their help in promoting the brands of Sky Betting since its launch back in 2000. The company is going to continue working with its affiliates for the upcoming thirty days, and there is a team of dedicated members that are ready to answer any queries.
After the 30 days period ends, all of the affiliates that are a part of Sky Betting network of Affiliates will have to stop all kinds of promotions referring to Sky Betting and Gaming. They will also have to remove all links that lead to any of the platform as well as other intellectual properties. Last but not least, Sky Betting’s Affiliate Hub portal is going to be closed on October the 2nd, with a final payment cycle for its affiliate to begin in the last days of September. The company will settle all balances around the 20th of October.