Back in November 2021, Sky Betting owner Flutter Entertainment distributed promotional material to customers who had self-excluded or opted out from receiving promotional material. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) found more than 41,395 self-excluded customers and 249,159 customers who had opted-out of promotional material received a promotion for ‘bet £5 get 100 spins’.
Under UK license regulation, under no circumstances should promotional material be distributed to both self-excluded customers and customers who have chosen to opt-out of promotions. The UKGC found Sky Bet had failed to comply with SRCP 5.1.11 stipulating “consumers must not be contacted with direct electronic marketing without their informed and specific consent”, they must be provided with the option to withdraw from promotions with no further contact from the company. Chief Executive for the UKGC Andrew Rhodes said, “Self-excluded customers are likely to be suffering gambling harm and should absolutely not be sent direct marketing that could tempt them back into gambling. “We advise all operators to learn from Sky Betting and Gaming’s costly errors and ensure their systems are robust enough to always prevent the self-excluded and those who have clearly rejected marketing, from receiving promotional material. “This latest fine would have been a lot higher had Sky Betting and Gaming allowed any of the self-excluded customers to actually gamble, failed to cooperate, and not taken decisive action aimed at preventing a repeat.”
Gambling Act Review
The fine comes at a time when the UK government is reviewing the current gambling act, with the white paper due to be released by the end of March. However, many operators are receiving huge fines from the UKGC for failing to protect players from gambling-related harm. Last week, 888 were issued a huge fine of £9.4m by the UKGC for failing to complete affordability checks on customers during the pandemic which resulted in many customers racking up debt.