The Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom has levied a £1,000,000 penalty against Skybet for “failing to protect vulnerable customers,” according to a statement issued by the UKGC earlier this week.
After an investigation, the commission determined that Skybet failed in their social responsibility by not honoring self-exclusion initiated by gamblers who might have felt they had trouble controlling their gambling.
According to the Gambling Commision report, Skybet’s self-exclusion facilities showed weakness by allowing more than 700 excluded gamblers to open duplicate accounts and return to betting; sending email, mobile text, or sending mobile app push notifications to about 50,000 self-excluded punters, and retaining the account balances of nearly 37,000 self-excluded patrons after they closed their accounts.
Program Director, Richard Watson said: “This was a serious failure affecting thousands of potentially vulnerable customers and the £1m penalty package should serve as a warning to all gambling businesses.
“Protecting consumers from gambling-related harm is a priority for us and where we see operators failing in their responsibility to keep their customers safe we will take tough action.
“Skybet reported the issues to us quickly, cooperated with us and has taken this investigation seriously.”
The violations seem to have occurred from late November 2014 and into 2017.
The company has agreed to pay a total of £1,008,600 in penalties. However, only part of the total will be recorded as a financial penalty. Nearly three-quarters of the package will be given to responsible causes charities.
According to BBC report, Skybet chief executive Richard Flint says that the company reported the violations to the commission as soon as they became aware of them. “In this case, we didn’t make it sufficiently difficult for people to open up duplicate accounts, and for that, we’ve apologized, it’s not good enough. We could and should have done more,” he told the news service. “It is embarrassing for us.”
Skybet is reportedly working diligently to address responsible gambling issues. The company agreed to continue sponsoring English Football Leagues through the 2023-24 and as part of the deal is required to ramp up compliance in that area.