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Sky Bet failed to protect vulnerable customers, says watchdog

From BBC - March 28, 2018

Sky Bet is to pay 1m for "failing to protect vulnerable customers", the Gambling Commission has said.

It did not stop problem gamblers even after they had asked to be banned from its websites, the watchdog said.

Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint said the firm accepted that it "needed to do more" to stop self-excluded gamblers from opening duplicate accounts.

He added that Sky Bet had tried to return the money that was gambled.

People who feel they are having trouble controlling their gambling can ask betting firms to refuse their service.

But 736 self-excluded Sky Bet customers were able to open and use duplicate accounts, the Gambling Commission said.

In addition, about 50,000 people who had excluded themselves received marketing emails, texts or push notifications through a mobile app.

And 36,748 customers did not get the balance on their account returned after self-excluding.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission programme director, said: "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.

"Sky Bet reported the issues to us quickly, co-operated with us and has taken this investigation seriously."

Betting temptation

Matt, a trainee accountant from London, started gambling as soon as he turned 18. He says he lost as much as 30,000.

"It's a 'lad culture' thing," the 22-year-old recently told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

"You ca not go to the pub on a Saturday afternoon without having the football on the TV, and then obviously there's adverts that come on and you get the urge to bet.

"I could not watch a game of football without having a bet on it.

"It was embarrassing to open up [to friends] and say, 'I am really struggling with this gambling problem.' They were involved in gambling as well," he said.

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