Online casino and poker specialists, 888, have been ordered to pay a massive penalty to the amount of £7.8m, which is a new record as penalties go.
It had been reported, by the Gambling Commission, that the company’s social responsibility procedures contained “significant flaws”.
The Gambling Commission discovered that around 7,000 ex-punters were still able to use their accounts and gamble, due to a huge technical failure.
One specific customer had been found to have staked more than £1.3m over the course of a year, before 888 identified him as a ‘problem gambler’.
After the penalty had been declared, 888 suggested that they have been working hand-in-hand with the Gambling Commission to resolve the issue and pay the settlement to ensure that players can enjoy gambling whilst still being responsible.
Chief executive at the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison, had since stated that the fee would enable 888 to learn their lesson whilst warning other operators not to fall in the same pitfall.
The penalty will also consist of a £3.5m sum which will be paid towards all ex-punters who staked but wished not to gamble anymore. It was the 888 bingo games that allowed these players to gamble.
Sarah Harrison had stated that: “Our requirements are that every company must provide the facility for every customer to be able to bar themselves from gambling. These 7,000 looked to do that. But 888 didn’t deliver it as effectively as they should have done,” .
The Gambling commission also revealed that the punter, who staked more than £1.3m, had stolen £55,000 from their employer, which was then used to fund his gambling problem. The customer was reported to have gambled for long hours during the day, over the span of just over a year.
On the matter, The GC had said “the lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling, raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at-risk of gambling harm”. The employer, who was stolen from, will be reimbursed an amount of £62,000.
In addition to this, Sarah Harrison had said: “There are around two million people now in Britain who either are problem gamblers or are at risk of problem gambling,”
“Companies are beginning to put different practices in place to identify people right up front, but more needs to be done. We need to go further and we need to go faster.”
Many rival betting companies have suggested that the entire gambling sector is learning how to manage ‘problem gamblers’.
 Quote reported from the BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41105949