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Rebecca Wayman

Number 28, in a state: Gambling site 888 pays a huge £7.8m fine for failing customers

888, the online gambling firm, has paid out a reported £7.8m penalty for failing to protect its vulnerable customers.

The UK Gambling Commissions (UKGC) found “significant flaws” in the company’s social responsibility, which aims to protect such consumers from gambling related issues.

Speaking to City A.M, Sarah Harrison, chief executive at UKGC, said: “Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers.

“The 888 sanction package will ensure those affected don’t lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling-related harm, and that assurance will be given to see that lessons are learned.”

Those in danger deposited more than £3.5m into their accounts and continued to gamble for more than a year.

In addition, UKGC found that, due to a technical failure, more than 7,000 customers who had chosen to self-exclude from their casino, poker or sport platform were still able to access their bingo accounts.

UKGC commented to City A.M: “While 888 did have self-exclusion procedures in place, they were not robust enough and failed to protect potentially vulnerable customers.

“The lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved, raised serious concerns about [the company’s] safeguarding of customers at risk.”

They added that the bingo site failed to recognise visible signs of gambling problems; one instance involved a customer’s behaviour which was so significant it resulted in criminal activity.

During a 13-month period, this consumer gambled three to four times a day on average, staking more than £1.3m including £55k stolen from their employer.

888’s £7.8m fine includes repayment of the £3.5m of deposits made by those self-excluded customers and £62k worth of compensation to the employer from which the money was stolen.

A further £4.25m will be paid to a socially responsible cause to invest in tackling gambling-related issues.

The company itself said: “[We] accept the conclusion of the review and is committed to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience.”

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