One of the largest online gambling companies on the territory of the UK – 888 UK Limited – is to be made to pay an enormous penalty estimated to more than £7.8 million. The penalty package has been imposed on the gambling operator after it failed to handle a number cases of customers who had been put at risk.
An investigation held by the UK gambling regulatory body, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), found that the social responsibility processes of 888 UK Limited, which are aimed to protect the company’s customers from any negative effects related to gambling, had been seriously flawed.
UKGC Investigation Findings
As mentioned above, the investigation initiated by the UK Gambling Commission found significant weaknesses in the gambling operator’s social responsibility measures, which resulted in the operator failing to handle some customers at risk.
The investigation held by the Commission found that more than 7,000 customers who had taken advantage of the self-exclusion scheme featured by the brand’s casino, sports betting and poker platform were still able to use their accounts on 888 UK Limited’s bingo platform due to a technical failure in the company’s systems. What is worse, is the fact that the company failed to detect the issue for a long time, with the customers affected being able to deposit a total of £3.5 million in their accounts, and continued to gamble for a period of more than a year.
According to the investigation carried out by the UK Gambling Commission, there really were active self-exclusion procedures at 888 UK Limited’s website, but they were not working properly, so that the company failed to protect customers who were put at risk at the time.
What is more, the UK gambling operator was alleged that it did not manage to identify obvious signs of problem gambling behaviour of a certain customer. The gambling addiction was so serious that it eventually ended up in criminal activity, with the customer betting more than £1.3 million, which included an amount of £55,000 stolen from their employer.
The investigation found out that the customer in question placed a massive number of bets, after gambling for about three to four hours on a daily basis over a period of 13 months. The fact that the company did not interacted with the customer in any way taking in consideration the amounts of money gambled, as well as the frequency and duration of their gaming sessions, raised serious concerns about the protection policy of the company in regards to the more vulnerable customers.
What is to Follow for 888 UK Limited?
As written above, the company is to suffer a penalty package estimated to £7.8 million. The monetary fine includes a repayment of the £3.5-million deposits made by the customers who were supposed to have self-excluded themselves from any gambling activities on the operator’s websites, as well as £62,000 compensation to be paid to the employer who suffered from the money stealing.
888 UK Limited will also be made to pay a total of £4.25 million to a social responsibility cause, with the money aimed to be invested in a number of measures aimed to deal with the negative effects of gambling. Moreover, the UK gambling regulatory authority has ordered an independent audit of the processes carried out by the company in terms of customer protection and identifying problem gambling behaviour.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Gambling Commission Sarah Harrison reminded that customer protection and social responsibility is not a matter of choice. She further explained that the massive penalty package imposed on 888 UK Limited reflects the seriousness of the company’s failure to make sure that customers at risk are well-protected.