A major UK betting operator is set to pay more than £100,000 for failing to protect a player who placed unaffordable bets
An unnamed gambling company in the UK has reached an out-of-court settlement for breaching the Gambling Commission’s social responsibility code, thus letting a 32-year old wager to lose more than £134,000 on online roulette, blackjack and a slot machine style game during an eight-year period of time.
The player, who is also staying anonymous under the terms of the agreement, continued betting even though he was showing “very obvious signs of problem gambling”, according to his lawyers. The customer, who is said to be based in the South of England, borrowed large sums from his family and friends to carry on with gambling.
A case without precedent
Henrietta Dunkley and Paul Kanolik, of the Ringwood law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors, managed to recover 89% of the net losses of the man without having to go to court. Solicitor Henrietta Dunkley described the outcome as “outstanding” and added that the firm’s client was apparently playing “far beyond his means”, but despite the alarming signals he was giving, the betting operator neglected the problem.
As per the rules of the UK Gambling Commission, bookmakers must “identify and assist customers who may be at risk of or experiencing gambling related harm”. However, the company under question made no “genuine intervention to check that he was not a vulnerable customer”, a spokesman for the law firm stated. In this case, the gambling operator was supposed to make the due checks and refer the case to the Responsible Gambling team.
Gambling companies for improved quality standards
Apart from being a landmark case due to the significant amount that was won back, the case also puts the focus on betting companies’ ethical code of conduct. An increasing number of operators are taking measures towards responsible gambling in order to offer safe experience for customers and protect them from negative consequences.
In September, the Kindred Group, through its 32Red and Unibet brands, announced the prolongation of its responsible gambling commitment strategy through its football clubs in the UK. As part of the plan, all matches during the 2019/20 season with 32Red teams presence will contain a responsible gambling message.
In addition, GVC Holdings one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, recently launched its first US Foundation for responsible gaming, corporate compliance and sports integrity.
Gambling Act 2005 replacement
In the beginning of November, MPs in the UK released an interim report demanding a decrease in online stakes to £2, similarly to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in land-based venues. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) called for a drastic reform in the Gambling Act 2005, which is believed to be outdated in the context of an exponentially growing online gambling sector in the digital age. The APPG is expected to reconvene in December after the General Election.
The UK Gambling Commission reveals that a total of 24 million adults engaged in betting activities in 2018-2019 with paying approximately £10.5m in online stakes.