Sky Betting and Gaming fined £1.17m over self-exclusion breaches
On 2 November last year an investigation by the regulator found the operator distributed a promotional offer of “Bet £5 get 100 free spins” for its Sky Vegas brand to 41,395 players who had self-excluded and 249,159 customers who had unsubscribed from marketing emails.
This, the Commission said, breached Social Responsibility Code of Practice (SRCP 3.5.3(2)), which states that licensees must take all reasonable steps to prevent any marketing material being sent to a self-excluded customer.
Sky Betting and Gaming was also ruled to have breached SRCP 5.1.11, which says that unless permitted by law, consumers must not receive direct marketing such as emails without their informed and specific consent. It also notes that customers can withdraw consent for direct marketing.
The Commission said failure to comply with an SRCP is a breach of a licence condition, as set out in section 82(1) of the Gambling Act 2005.
The regulator did note that immediate remedial action was taken by Sky Betting and Gaming and also acknowledged the operator has co-operated throughout the investigation.
However, in line with its licensing, compliance and enforcement policy statement, the Commission decided to impose a financial penalty of £1.17m under section 121(1) of the Act.
“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,” Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes said.
“We would 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.”
This latest fine follows a number of other enforcement actions in recent weeks against operators.
Last week, the Commission fined 888 £9.4m over a series of social responsibility and money laundering failings, including setting its deposit threshold for financial checks at £40,000.
BetVictor operator BV Gaming Limited also agreed to pay a regulatory settlement worth £2.0m after the Commission identified a series of fairness, social responsibility, and money laundering failures.