888 fined nearly £8 million for social responsibility failings
888 the online gambling firm has been hit with a record fine by the UK Gambling Commission over its failings to protect vulnerable and problem gamblers. In total the online operator has been fined £7.8 million in what the UK Gambling Commission said were “significant flaws” in the companies social responsibility processes.
Following an investigation by the Commission it found that 7,000 customers that had asked to be self excluded were still able to gamble on the site, with customers depositing £3.5 million with 888 and gambling still for over 13 months.
In particular the Commission said that also 888 failed to spot visible signs of problem gambling in their customers with one particular gambler spending over £1.3 million of which £55,000 was stolen from their employer.
“The lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling, raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at risk of gambling harm,” said the Commission on 888’s failings.
The Gambling Commission chief executive, Sarah Harrison, 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.”
In delivering the fine the Commission said that of the fine £3.5 million would be repaid to those customers who delf-excluded and made deposits after that and also £62,000 to the employer who had money stolen from them.
Of the remainder which is £4.25 million that will go to socially responsible causes to invest in measures to tackle gambling-related harm.