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Skybet to pay £1m penalty package following Gambling Commission investigation

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have announced that Skybet has been fined £1m as a result of the company ‘failing to protect vulnerable customers’.

skybetugc

In its investigation, the UKGC found three separate breaches of regulations, the first was where 736 self-excluded customers managed to open duplicate accounts allowing them to continue to gamble between November 2014 and 2017.

The second breach occurred when  around 50,000  previously self excluded customers incorrectly received marketing material, either in the form of emails, texts, or mobile phone app push notifications and the final breach of regulations occurred when 36,748 self-excluded customers did not have their funds transferred back following the closure of their accounts.

Announcing the fine, Richard Watson, UKGC Programme Director, said that “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.” 

As part of the arrangement agreed with the UKGC, Sky Betting and Gaming will pay a penalty package of £1,008,600, which includes a payment of £750,000 to charities for responsible causes in lieu of a financial penalty.

Responding to this morning’s Gambling Commission announcement by issuing a statement on the company's website, Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, said: "We have always taken responsible gambling and player protection very seriously but this incident showed that we needed to do more. When we spotted the issue we pro-actively notified the Gambling Commission and have worked to improve our processes to avoid this happening again.

"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 fully agree with the Gambling Commission’s findings and will donate the agreed sum to charities for socially responsible purposes."

In November 2017, Skybet signed a multi-million pound deal to extend their sponsorship of the English Football Leagues until 2023-24, with a provisio to include a more responsible gambling slant. This latest development would seem to fly in the face of that message and could potentially harm the business in the long term.

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