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888 fined a record £7.8m by the Gambling Commission

888, one of the UK’s biggest gambling companies has been fined a record £7.8m by the Gambling Commission for allowing 7,000 vulnerable customers who had taken a "time out" to continue playing.

The Commission said that due to a technical failure in 888’s systems, customers who had chosen to self-exclude from their casino, poker or sports betting platform were still granted access to their accounts on 888’s bingo platform.

The technical oversight continued for 13 months, allowing those customers to deposit up to £3.5m in their player accounts.

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"While 888 did have self-exclusion procedures in place, they were not robust enough and failed to protect vulnerable customers" the Gambling Commission said.

888 also failed to "recognise visible signs of problem gambling behaviour" in one individual, who staked £1.3m in repeated bets over the course of 13 months. At least £55,000 of this money had been stolen from his employer.

Chief executive at the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison said: "Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888's failings to protect vulnerable customers."

"The sanction package will ensure those affected don't lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling related harm and that independent assurance will be given to see that lessons are learnt."

Of the £7.8m penalty, £4.25m will go towards good causes including the Responsible Gambling Trust which helps those in the UK and beyond with gambling addiction. The rest will be repaid to the customers affected.

In a statement, 888 said: "The company accepts the conclusion of the review and is committed to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience."

 

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