Major marketing cock-up triggers £1m fine for Sky Bet

sk bet2The Gambling Commission has slapped a £1m fine on Sky Bet for huge failings over how it dealt with problem gamblers who had actually tried to stop betting, including a major cock-up which saw the firm send tens of thousands of marketing emails and texts to encourage them to place wagers.
The irony is that these customers had actually responded to the gambling industry’s mantra of “When the Fun Stops. Stop” – introduced by The Senet Group in 2015 – by “self-excluding” themselves from gambling, and requesting that Sky Bet refused their service.
However, the commission found that around 50,000 self-excluded customers had still received marketing by email, mobile text or a push notification within a mobile app and that 736 self-excluded customers were able to open and use duplicate accounts to gamble. In addition 36,748 self-excluded customers did not have their account balance funds returned to them on account closure. The company insisted it was a “glitch” in its system.
Gambling Commission programme 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.
“Sky Bet reported the issues to us quickly, cooperated with us and has taken this investigation seriously.”
In a statement, Sky Betting & Gaming chief executive Richard Flint said: “We could and should have made it harder for self-excluded customers to open duplicate accounts with us and for that we are sorry.
“We want to reassure people that we have not made any profit out of this episode. Since this incident we have further increased our resources and focus on helping our customers to gamble safely. We have initiated a major TV and online campaign promoting, amongst other things, limits that customers can set to control their own gambling. And we have a team of 60 people monitoring accounts for unusual behaviour.”

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