In an unfolding situation that serves as a warning to all within the industry, Paddy Power and Betfair, operating under PPB Counterparty Services, have been slapped with a hefty fine by the Great Britain Gambling Commission. The regulatory body has issued the companies a penalty of £490,000 for sending marketing materials to customers who had voluntarily excluded themselves from gambling activities.
The infraction dates back to 21 November 2021 when a push notification containing enhanced odds for an English Premier League match was dispatched from the companies’ app. The recipients of this message were Apple users who had opted for self-exclusion via the Gamstop platform. Paddy Power Betfair cited human error as the cause of this mistake.
The Consequences of Non-Compliance
Following a thorough investigation, the Commission declared that the companies violated the Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.5.3, which requires gambling firms to take all necessary measures to prevent the transmission of marketing materials to self-excluded customers.
PPB Counterparty Services admitted this breach, leading to the substantial penalty. Additionally, the firm committed to an independent audit of its marketing communication processes and procedures, to be conducted at its own cost.
Despite the fine, PPB Counterparty Services remained steadfast in its commitment to safe gambling. “We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission in all areas and we are committed to operating at the highest possible levels of responsibility,” assured CEO of Flutter UK & Ireland, Ian Brown.
No complaints were lodged by self-excluded customers in relation to the notification, as the technical safeguards prevented them from placing bets or making deposits.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
This situation emphasises several key considerations for the broader iGaming landscape:
- The necessity for robust safeguards: The incident underlines the vital need for stringent systems and checks to prevent self-excluded customers from receiving marketing materials. Such infractions can lead to severe financial penalties and reputational damage.
- The importance of immediate corrective actions: Quick recognition and rectification of breaches, as demonstrated by PPB Counterparty Services, can potentially mitigate the severity of the damage to self-excluded players.
- Commitment to safer gambling: This scenario stresses the value of ongoing efforts to promote safer gambling. Firms that proactively invest in this area will likely gain trust from both their customers and regulators, and possibly avoid such costly pitfalls.