888 Casino, a leading online gaming platform was slammed with a fine of CA$12 million-dollars for failing to protect susceptible players from problem gambling. The 888 Casino brand is recognised for their amazing online poker rooms, but a technical failure in the systems employed by 888 allowed more than 7000 players to access the platform. These players choose to self-exclude from playing, as they suspected a problem gambling issue.
According to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), this technical failure was overlooked for a long time (13 months). The technical failure resulted in deposits amounting to CA$1.67 million, from the players that choose to self-exclude. In addition to the technical failure fine, 888’s customer care and support were taken to task, as they failed to recognise a severe problem gambler.
The story broke after the UKGC published data collected from a survey on problem gambling. The survey revealed that problem gambling had risen by 0.2 percent, over the past three years.
What are problem gambling and self-exclusion?
Gambling is a fun pastime, but for a select few, it can be problematic and harmful. Some players develop an addiction towards gambling, and this can lead to destructive behaviour. Problem gambling affects the individual and the people around them. So, for players that suspect they have a problem gambling – they may choose to self-exclude from gambling. The stipulated industry time frame for self – exclusion is six months. Reputable online gaming platforms will also provide players with problem gambling resources to help them learn about their addiction and how to cope with it.
Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said “Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under CAD$12 million reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers”. Furthermore, the UKGC held that those affected would be compensated for this technical fault, “the 888-sanction package will ensure that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling – related harm”. In addition to the investigation, the UKGC has requested an independent assessment of the online casino’s customer protection procedures.
888 Casino fine – the numbers
The breakdown of the fine includes repayment of deposits made by players who chose to self-exclude. It also includes compensation of CA$99 000 to the employer that was victim to 888’s technical failure, details below. The fine amount also includes an amount to be used for social responsibility in tackling problem gambling.
888 Casino and their Customer Support Fail
The UKGC found that 888 had failed in their customer care and support offering as the failed to notice the playing habits of a particular player. The player placed more than 850 000 bets worth CA $ 1.67 million over 13 months and gambled between three to four hours a day. Further, the player funded the 888.com account by indulging in criminal activity, false accounting and stealing lead to imprisonment.
888 Casino Shares Unscathed
Following news of the fine, 888’s shares scaled the London Stock Exchange. Considering the severity of problem gambling, this fine wasn’t as severe as investors predicted. In addition to shares climbing the LSE, the biggest news for investors – is an intact license to still operate within the online gambling market. 888 released the following in response to the conclusion of the review “the review process has pushed 888 to enhance its responsible gambling technology and policies, and leaves it well placed to continue to succeed in an environment where it will engage with customers in a way that those customers and regulators will demand going forward”.