Paddy Power Betfair to pay £490,000 fine for marketing to vulnerable consumers

GamStop is the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme for the online sector.

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A Flutter Entertainment brand, trading as Paddy Power and Betfair (PPB), is to pay £490,000 ($606,000) for sending promotional push notifications to devices linked to customers who had self-excluded.

It is interesting to note that this was a straightforward fine rather than a regulatory settlement, the likes of which we have seen plenty of in recent weeks.

Self-exclusion apps are used by bettors to voluntarily ban them from gambling for a restricted period of time. Self-exclusion apps are often used by those who struggle to control their gambling and those who are vulnerable. GamStop is the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme for the online sector.

PPB is being fined because, on 21 November 2021, the operator’s app sent a push notification offering enhanced odds for a football match between Spurs and Leeds to devices that were either linked to accounts that were GamStop registered, or devices linked to accounts that were self-excluded with the licensee.

As a consequence of breaching the rules implemented by the Gambling Commission, PPB has been fined £490,000. Its responsibilities were to take all steps to prevent any marketing material being sent to a self-excluded customer, and to remove the data of self-excluded bettors from any marketing database within two days of receiving the notification that the customer has decided to self-exclude. 

This fine comes one month after Betfair received a SEK 4m penalty fee from the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) for allowing customers to bet on the Under-21 (U21) Allsvenskan football league.

CEO of Flutter UK&I Ian Brown sent a statement to Gambling Insider, saying: “Flutter’s ambition is to lead the industry in safer gambling and we apologise for this mistake. The push notification in question was sent in error and, once discovered by our team, we took immediate steps to rectify the issue and proactively notified the Gambling Commission.

"We know that neither Paddy Power nor the regulator received any complaints about the message. We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission in all areas and we are committed to operating at the highest possible levels of responsibility.”

Kay Roberts, Gambling Commission Executive Director of Operations, said: “Although there is no evidence the marketing was intentional, nor that all the people with apps saw the notification, or that self-excluded customers were allowed to gamble, we take such breaches seriously.

“We would advise all operators to learn from the operator’s failures and ensure their systems are robust enough to always prevent self-excluded customers from being sent promotional material.”

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