The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has this morning disclosed that it has fined Sky Betting & Gaming (Sky Bet) £1.17 million fine for sending promotional emails to self-excluded customers.
The penalty follows an “investigation outside of a licence review” that revealed that the Sky Vegas brand had communicated a ‘Bet £5 get 100 free spins’ offer to 41,395 self-excluded customers and 249,159 customers who had unsubscribed from marketing emails.
Sky Bet admitted its fault to the Commission, in which the Flutter Entertainment subsidiary had breached social responsibility code of practice 3.5.3(2) – which stipulates that “licensees must, as soon as practicable, take all reasonable steps to prevent any marketing material being sent to a self-excluded customer”.
Furthermore, it also saw Sky Bet fail to comply with SRCP 5.1.11, which expresses that “consumers must not be contacted with direct electronic marketing without their informed and specific consent,” as well as being provided with an option to withdraw from such communications and not being contacted thereafter.
Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes commented: “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 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.”
The Sky Bet penalty follows regulatory actions taken against 888 Holdings and BetVictor who were issued with respective fines of £9.8 million and £2 million for AML and duty of customer care failures.
Ahead of the pending judgement of the Gambling Act review, Andrew Rhodes has warned gambling leadership that his department will take a tougher stance on repeated offenders who fail to meet social responsibility standards.