Today, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed the findings of an investigation it held into PT Entertainment Services (PTES) that once traded through the titanbet.co.uk and winner.co.uk websites. The gambling watchdog of the UK found systemic failures in the company’s player protection.
The investigation of the UKGC into the gambling firm’s operation started in March 2019 after the family of a 25-year-old man who committed suicide in April 2017 contacted the regulator. PTES surrendered its operation licence at the time of the probe but the Gambling Commission still decided that it was in the public interest to complete its investigation and then publish the results.
Now, the gambling sector’s watchdog revealed that it found serious systemic failures in the way social responsibility and money-laundering procedures were managed by the operator. As far as the aforementioned young man and his tragic death were concerned, the Commission concluded that PT Entertainment Services failed to ensure responsible gambling customer interactions, despite it was aware that a few debit card transactions of the man had been declined at the time. What is worse, the gambling company also provided the player with VIP status without making sure that the man could afford to spend the amounts of money he was placing as bets.
All of these failings were described by the UKGC as serious and unacceptable ones.
Systemic Failings in Customer Interaction, Social Responsibility and AML Procedures Were Found by the UKGC
PTES had not informed the UK Gambling Commission for the death of the young man and stated that it was not required to do so.
As found during the investigation, the customer in question opened a Winner account on December 26th, 2016, with the account being suspended by the gambling operator on April 12th, 2017 after receiving notification of the gambler’s suicide. During the time the account existed, the customer deposited a total of £148,095, while his withdrawals amounted to £114,027.
Several deposits from the customer’s debit card were declined by his bank. Despite this, a VIP manager of PTES contacted the young man via email and offered him a free gift of his choice and invited him to the company’s VIP club. No consideration to social responsibility and gambling addiction checks was given by the operator despite the amount of the man’s deposits, his declined transactions and the fact that PTES was not aware whether he was able to afford such gambling.
Furthermore, the UKGC revealed more general failures in the way customer interaction between PT Entertainment Services and its highest-spending users was held.
The gambling watchdog shared that it would have imposed a monetary fine worth £3.5 million along with other sanctions, if appropriate, in case the company had not decided to voluntarily surrender its operation licence. Apart from that, the investigation into the role played by key officials at the gambling company, who still hold personal licences, is continuing, with the UKGC set to take all the necessary action after the probe is brought to an end.
The CEO of the Commission, Neil McArthur, confirmed that the fact that the case was of great public interest was taken into account at the time when the regulatory body decided to complete the probe and publish its findings, although PTES had voluntarily surrendered its licence and had ceased operation. Mr McArthur further noted that the case of the young man committing suicide illustrated why the proper management of so-called VIP customers required some changes. He also reminded that gambling companies must do everything possible to ensure responsible interaction with their customers, especially in terms so-called high-value users are being recruited and encouraged to gamble.