Following the Gambling Commission’s decision to fine 888 Holdings for a record-breaking figure, operators using a self-exclusion scheme have been advised to review their compliance process.
Operators across the wider gambling industry have been prompted to ensure their self-exclusion records are in order following a £7.8m fine for iGaming company 888 Holdings.
The record-breaking penalty was imposed following a probe into the company’s responsible gaming measures, with a technical issue allowing safeguards to be bypassed, enabling more than 7,000 customers who had opted out of casino, poker and sport sites to continue accessing a bingo platform.
Associations, regulators and consultants across the industry are now recommending operators review their social responsibility processes to ensure they are on the correct side of regulation.
“This record breaking financial penalty package is a wake-up call to all gambling operators to ensure that their social responsibility procedures are robust,” said Richard Williams, a partner at Joelson’s Licensing, Gaming and Regulatory team.
“Operators are required to take all reasonable steps to prevent self-excluded customers from gambling. Where an operator has different platforms and brands, this would include preventing a self-excluded customer from gambling with all of the operator’s brands/platforms.”
Joelson are advising gaming firms to ensure that procedures include cross-checking names, addresses,DOBs, e-mail addresses and bank card details of new and existing customers against records of self-excluded customers.
Warwick Bartlett, CEO of gaming consultancy GBGC,believes the large regulatory penalty marks a stricter attitude from the Gambling Commission.
“This is a step change for the industry with the Gambling Commission drawing a deep line in the sand that tells the industry adherence to preventing pathological play is of the utmost importance,” said Bartlett.
“I think operators will now be reviewing their compliance processes to ensure that they meet the commission’s expectations.”
The chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, agrees, stating that “the size size of the financial penalties involved should leave no one in any doubt about the importance that we should attach to this settlement”.
Addressing this sentiment, betting industry self-regulator The Senet Group argued that the failings of 888 shouldn’t undermine the overall importance of self-exclusion schemes – used effectively throughout the wider gambling industry.
“We must not let the past behaviour of one business undermine the value of self-exclusion as a tool in managing the risk of and harm from problem gambling,” stated Wanda Goldwag, chair of The Senet Group.