In the United Kingdom and the operator behind the iGaming domains at TitanBet.co.uk and Winner.co.uk reportedly surrendered its license last year before the damning results of an official investigation into its social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes could be released.
According to a Wednesday report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), PT Entertainment Services (PTES) Limited was being examined by the Gambling Commission for alleged failings into the way its VIP scheme had checked whether players could actually afford their losses. The Isle of Man-headquartered firm could have purportedly been penalized to the tune of up to £3.5 million ($4.3 million) but escaped any such sanction by pre-emptively forsaking its license.
The BBC reported that the regulator initiated its enquiry into PTES Limited after being contacted by the family of a young man who had committed suicide while holding gambling-related debts with the operator said to be worth approximately £34,000 ($41,690). Chris Bruney had purportedly been granted VIP status by the two domains but took his own life in April of 2017 at the age of just 25 shortly after gambling away some £119,395 ($146,370).
In its official findings, the Gambling Commission reportedly found that PTES Limited, which is owned by British online casino games developer Playtech, had failed Bruney by not carrying out any responsible gambling customer interactions even though several of his debit card transactions had been declined. The regulator’s investigation purportedly determined that the operator had moreover provided the Sheffield-based customer with VIP status without first verifying whether he could indeed afford the amounts of money with which he was gambling.
The Gambling Commission used an official Wednesday press release to proclaim that its inquiry had uncovered ‘serious systemic failings’ in the now-shuttered operator’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility protocols alongside ‘more general failings’ regarding the way the firm had ‘interacted with its highest spending customers.’
Neil McArthur (pictured), Chief Executive for the Gambling Commission, detailed that the regulator is continuing to examine the roles played by key PTES Limited figures who still hold personal licences and will take appropriate action following the completion of further enquiries.
McArthur reportedly stated…
“This is a tragic case that came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life. I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.”
In responding to the findings of the investigation, London-listed Playtech reportedly told the BBC that it had decided to close the websites run by PTES Limited prior to the initiation of the Gambling Commission’s action. It purportedly furthermore explained that its subordinate’s United Kingdom license had already been due to expire in October, which is the same month it had made a charitable donation worth £620,000 ($760,800), and that it has since ‘invested significantly’ so as to ensure similar breaches do not re-occur.
However, McArthur used the press release to pronounce that the regulator is continuing its investigations into PTES Limited even though the firm has ceased trading ‘as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators’.
McArthur’s statement read…
“This case, like so many others we have seen, illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high-value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high-value customers.”