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Gambling operator Sky Bet has been slapped with a £1m fine for failing to protect vulnerable customers. The Gambling Commission found that Sky Bet’s “self-exclusion” service failed to work for the people who needed it.
This is because the watchdog found that 736 customers, who had self-excluded with Sky Bet, were still able to open and use duplicate accounts to gamble.
On top of this, another 36,748 people did not have their account balance returned to them when they asked to be cut off.
“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,” said the commission’s Richard Watson, adding: “Skybet reported the issues to us quickly, cooperated with us and has taken this investigation seriously.”
Meanwhile, Sky Betting and Gaming chief executive Richard Flint 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.”
He added: “We want to reassure people that we have not made any profit out of this episode. In relation to account balances, wherever possible and practical we have returned the money to the people involved.”