888 penalised by UK Gambling Commission for social responsibility failings
A review of 888’s licence unearthed what the UKGC had called “a number of breaches”, which includes failures to comply with the social responsibility code.
The UKGC requires operators to check in with players that they identify as depositing or playing too much, with affordability checks in place too. This can help to identity and prevent problem gambling. Mandatory responsible gambling checks were put in place in 2020 during the first COVID-19 lockdown for players who gambled for longer than an hour.
The UKGC found that 888 policy meant that affordability checks were only carried out after total deposits reached a whopping £40,000. This caused a player to lose £37,000 in just six weeks during the pandemic, a huge failing to that individual.
The £40,000 threshold was also a failing for the UKGC’s anti money laundering codes, which is in place to prevent criminals from using casinos to deposit and withdraw illegally gained money.
Operators should be making direct contact with players when carrying out these checks, but in many instances players were receiving blanket emails reminding them of the responsible gambling options available on 888 owned sites. These emails required no response, so any concerns for player safety were not addressed or followed up.
Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission has said “Today’s fine is one of our largest to date, and all should be clear that if there is a repeat of the failures at 888 then we have to seriously consider the suitability of the operator to uphold the licensing objectives and keep gambling safe and crime-free.”
“Consumers in Britain deserve to know that when they gamble, they are participating in a leisure activity where operators play their part in keeping them safe and are carrying out checks to ensure money is crime-free.”
Rhodes has also warned that if there is evidence of similar failing in the future, the UKGC will “seriously consider the suitability of the operator”.