PPB Counterparty Services Limited, operating under the names Paddy Power and Betfair, has been ordered to pay a fine of £490,000 ($604,319) for sending promotional push notifications to self-excluded customers.
The Gambling Commission's crackdown on this breach serves as a stark reminder to operators about the need to prioritize the protection of vulnerable consumers.
The incident in question occurred on 21st November 2021 when Paddy Power and Betfair's app dispatched an offer for enhanced odds on an English Premier League football match to devices connected to either GAMSTOP registered accounts or self-excluded accounts.
By doing so, the operator violated the Commission's rules, which stipulate that gambling businesses must take every reasonable precaution to prevent marketing material from reaching self-excluded customers.
Additionally, they are obligated to expeditiously remove the personal information of self-excluded individuals from their marketing databases within two days of receiving the self-exclusion notification.
Addressing the matter, Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations at the Gambling Commission, underscored the seriousness of the breach while acknowledging the absence of evidence regarding intentional marketing or actual engagement in gambling by self-excluded customers.
Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations at the Gambling Commission
Roberts stated, "Although there is no evidence the marketing was intentional, nor that all the people with apps saw the notification or that self-excluded customers were allowed to gamble, we take such breaches seriously." The Commission's focus lies on preventing such incidents and ensuring operators are vigilant in safeguarding vulnerable individuals.
The concept of self-exclusion is designed to aid consumers who struggle to maintain control over their gambling habits. It empowers individuals to request operators to refuse their services, allowing them to regain command over their lives.
Recognizing the significance of this mechanism, the Commission mandates that all gambling operators offer their own self-exclusion schemes and actively participate in multi-operator self-exclusion initiatives within their sector.
While the penalty imposed on Paddy Power and Betfair highlights the severity of their missteps, it also serves as a wake-up call to the entire gambling industry. Operators are urged to learn from these failures and fortify their systems to prevent self-excluded customers from receiving promotional materials.
As the landscape of the industry evolves, responsible gambling practices must take precedence to ensure the well-being of those in need of support.