Gambling Commission finds Playtech brand showed serious failings in tragic case

By Iqbal Johal

A Gambling Commission investigation has found PT Entertainment Services (PTES) showed serious social responsibility, anti-money laundering and VIP failings, following a case where a player took his own life in 2017.

Playtech brand PTES, which used to trade under Winner and Titanbet, had already surrendered its Gambling Commission licence since the investigation began in March 2019.

The Commission was contacted by the family of a man who took his own life in April 2017, aged 25. It was found that PTES failed to carry out responsible gambling interactions with the customer, despite being aware debit card transactions had been declined.

Since the opening of the player's Winner account on 26 December 2016 and having it suspended following notice of his suicide on 12 April 2017, the customer deposited £148,095 ($182,000) and withdrew £114,027, leaving a net loss of £34,068.

However, upon one of the debit card deposit refusals, he was offered a free gift and the chance to be part of Winner's Exclusive VIP club. In late December, an internal email was sent showing the customer had incurred a net loss of £22,000 but had no note of his occupation.

The Commission said if PTES was still operating under its license, a £3.5m penalty would’ve been imposed, with other sanctions added. Action will still be taken against key individuals involved at the time.

The Commission also pointed out it will be consulting on making permanent changes to how operators recruit and incentivise VIP customers.

Gambling Commission CEO, Neil McArthur, said: "Although PTES has ceased trading we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.

"This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly."

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