UK Gambling Commission assessing whether the business owned by 888 is fulfilling its social responsibility requirements

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The Gambling Commission has launched an investigation into a subsidiary of online casino company 888 to assess whether it is doing enough to protect its customers.

The industry watchdog is assessing whether the business owned by 888 is fulfilling its social responsibility requirements by having effective procedures in place to help punters better manage their gambling.

One such tool is the ability for customers to ‘self exclude’, which prevents them from gambling for a defined amount of time, usually a minimum of six months.

Self exclusions have been given greater prominence in the past year after bookmaker William Hill recently pointed to them as a drag on its profits.

Another tool is a time-out feature, which people using online gambling sites can use to prevent themselves from gambling for a set amount of time. Online gambling companies must offer the ability to time-out for 24 hours, one week, one month or up to six weeks.

 

The announcement has wiped 7pc off the shares taking them to 278p.

888 said it was “dedicated to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience” and the subsidiary would be “proactively engaged” with the Gambling Commission in its review.

Brokerage Peel Hunt said that, while it thought 888 was a "responsible operator", it expected a fine and changes to the way the business under the investigation is run.

"It appears this public process is now the Commission’s preferred way of regulating the gambling industry and fines and bad publicity are part of the cost of doing business," it added.

 

The watchdog has ramped up its focus on responsible gambling and is increasingly making sure businesses know what they have to do to make ensure their services are offered in a responsible way.

It levied its first financial penalty for advertising failings this month when it fined Guernsey-based BGO Entertainment £300,000.

The commission said it had issued the fine for nine misleading advertisements by BGO on its own website between July 2015 and July 2016 as well as 14 on affiliates' websites between February and October last year.

Since May 2015, the commission's Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice have required all licensed gambling operators to avoid misleading consumers about promotions.

This means companies must clearly state what a 'free bet', 'bonus' or similar offer actually means and what consumers have to do in order to qualify for them.

888 said it would make a further announcement when an update was possible.

The Gambling Commission said it was unable to comment an ongoing investigation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/15/gambling-watchdog-turns-attention-business-owned-online-casino/