Gambling firm 888 pays record £7.8m penalty for failing vulnerable customers

Gem Sofianos

Source: ©Photoshot

After regulator investigation

The online gambling firm 888 has been ordered to pay a record £7.8m as a result of ‘serious failings’ in its handling of vulnerable customers. 

The Gambling Commission said the action follows the ‘discovery of significant flaws’ in companies social responsibility processes, which aim to protect consumers from gambling-related harm.

One example given by the industry regulator was the firms failure to challenge a customer who staked over £1.3m over 13 months, including £55k stolen from their employer, and gambled on average three to four hours a day.

The commission’s investigation also found that a technical fault in 888’s systems allowed over 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude from a gambling platform were still able to access their accounts on through a bingo platform.

The issue went undetected for a prolonged period of time, meaning affected customers were able to deposit £3.5m into their accounts, and then continue to gamble, for over 13 months.

The commission said that some of the penalty includes the repayment of £3.5m deposits made by the self-excluded customers and compensation of £62k to the employer from whom money was stolen. 

A further £4.25m will go to a socially responsible cause to invest in measures to tackle gambling problems.

Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission said: “Safeguarding consumers is not optional.

“This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers.

“The 888 sanction package will ensure those affected don’t lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling-related harm, and that independent assurance will be given to see that lessons are learnt.”

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