Online gambling firm 888 have been hit with a £7.8m fine (€8.5m or $10.1m) for failing to protect vulnerable customers on their websites. The fine has come from the UK Gambling Commission, who had identified 7000 customers who had ‘self-excluded’ their accounts, but were still able to access websites from the 888 gambling group.
When a player ‘self excludes’, it means they no longer wish to place any more bets with that particular website. It is a protection system to assist customers who may be having issues controlling their gambling spend. A technical flaw in the websites owned by 888 meant that customers were still able to gamble on 888’s bingo platform after self excluding on a different 888 website.
Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission, told the BBC that the fine would ensure that “lessons were learnt”.
£3.5m from the total fine will be used to repay deposits made by the customers who had self-excluded themselves from 888 when they wanted to stop gambling.
“Our requirements are that every company must provide the facility for every customer to be able to bar themselves from gambling. These 7,000 looked to do that. But 888 didn’t deliver it as effectively as they should have done,” Ms Harrison told the BBC.
More fines are expected to be handed down as the UKGC continues its investigations into the issue of self exclusion across multiple websites owned by one company.