A high-profile betting company failed to help tens of thousands of people who wanted to stop gambling, it has been revealed.
Sky Bet, which is part-owned by Sky PLC and sponsors the English Football League, has been ordered to pay £1 million for its failings.
In the past year, other betting companies have been forced to pay a combined total of £15m over a string of serious errors including failing to spot money laundering. Sky Bet’s relatively low fine was because it reported the inadequacies itself.
The Gambling Commission, which handed out the fine, explained that some 736 self-excluded Sky Bet customers were still able to open duplicate accounts to gamble.
Around 50,000 customers who said they wanted to stop gambling were sent marketing material.
And over 35,000 self-excluded customers did not have their outstanding balance returned to them when they closed their accounts.
Richard Watson, Programme Director for the Commission, described the errors as a “serious failure affecting thousands of potentially vulnerable customers”.
But he added: “Skybet reported the issues to us quickly, cooperated with us and has taken this investigation seriously.”
The Sky Betting and Gaming Chief Executive Richard Flint said the company “could and should have made it harder for self-excluded customers to open duplicate accounts with us and for that we are sorry”.
“We fully agree with the Gambling Commission’s findings and will donate the agreed sum to charities for socially responsible purposes.”
In February, William Hill was fined in excess of £6 million for failing to spot money laundering and for breaching social responsibility rules.
Due to a lack of staff monitoring ten gamblers were allowed to “deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences”, the Gambling Commission said.
However, a business commentator noted at the time that the fine only “amounts to what the company made in about a week”.
Last August, 888 UK Limited was hit with a record fine of nearly £8 million after it too failed to block users who wanted to stop gambling.
888 UK Limited allowed thousands of customers who had chosen to self-exclude on one platform to continue betting on another platform.
It also failed to recognise troubling signs as one customer staked over £1m. The customer stole tens of thousands of pounds from their employer to fund their gambling habit.