This Online Casino got Fined with Record Number £7.8 millionThe UK Gambling Commission issued one of the worlds biggest fines regarding Online Casino 888’s failed attempt in keeping their registered players safe from their own gambling addiction. The UK Gambling Commission’s affirmative action is already being processed as precedence throughout the online casino industry and will act as a tighter rope for other online casinos in the industry to keep their gambling users safe.

But how could this happen? And who is really responsible in this case? The legislation? The UK Gambling Commission? The gambling provider? the gambler?

The Biggest Casino Fines in History

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How Do the Online Casino Keep Their Users Safe?

Considering the number of gamblers who have moved from the large casino estates to the comfort of their own computer screen, the harder it is for a casino to moderate any inappropriate behavior.

It’s a common occurrence that an online casino frequently issues surveys in order to locate signs of players that may have problems with gambling abuse. A player that shows any traits of inappropriate behavior will be contacted and informed about the sites gaming policies. Casinos need to have a good understanding and communication when speaking with players who are admitting to having a problem with responsible gaming.

You can restrict your own playing by restricting yourself from entering a specific casino. This can come in the form of a “cool off period”, “temporary suspension” as well as “self-exclusion”.

Self-exclusion

Self-exclusion is a when a player asks a gambling operator to exclude them from gambling at their online casino for a period of time. The period in which you can opt to self-exclude is usually between six months and five years. This is implemented by law and this must be provided as an option by gambling operators in the UK.

However, one online casino simply can’t stop you from playing at any other online casino, so what you have to do is either self-exclude yourself from all the different casinos that you feel is tempting you to gamble, or find other ways to stop yourself from getting in contact with any form of gambling.

There is a lot of filtering options out there that you can use on your computer. This is to protect both yourself and other users from accessing a casino. For example, if you have an underage in which also uses the computer or if you feel like you can’t stop yourself from visiting one. We suggest that you try out Net Nanny and CyberPatrol for this kind of filter.

So it’s pretty easy to understand that when you self-exclude from a casino, the responsibility for not moving on to another casino when you feel like you are ready to start gamble again lies with you. Rest assure that a casino will do all they reasonably can to help you.

If you think self-exclusion could work for you, make sure you exclude yourself from all the places where you may be tempted to gamble.

888 Failed to Spot the Visible Signs of Problem Gambling

888 is an online casino, based in Gibraltar but listed on the London Stock Exchange, that has been around for quite a while and is often listed beside the big fishes on the market. 888 offers welcome bonuses for newly registered customers as well as frequent deposit bonuses for already registered customers. As of now, 888 claims that they have paid out €1,352,270,802.44 in winnings just this single month and have clear regulations stated on their webpage about gambling awareness and other full measures.

So how could this go so wrong? What did 888 fail to do, that doesn’t happen at other casinos, or is 888 just the scapegoat for all the other casinos that also fails to spot the visible signs of problem gambling?

It began with a peculiar customer who was found to stake more than £1.3 million during a 13-month period. This player had over 850,000 bets registered – which equals an average of 2,150 bets every day! It was also later revealed that this player even stole £55,000 from his employer in order to continue playing after the money ran out. This resulted in 16 months in prison for theft and false accounting.

A technical failure later showed that 888’s self-exclusion scheme did not stop people who have opted out from keep depositing money into their accounts. This resulted in that customers who had signed up to self-exclude themselves were able to deposit £3.5 million into their accounts.

The UK Gambling Commission took action and 888 received a fine with the record amount of £7.8 million for their failings. After all, more than 7,000 people who had voluntarily banned themselves from gambling were still able to access their accounts. This is a huge misuse of trust and goes against everything that a responsible gambling program is supposed to protect. Given into account is also that self-exclusion is the most drastic measure any one player can do in order to restrict their gambling.

The £7.8 million, which is a record settlement in the online gambling industry, is set to include repayment of the £3.5 million deposits made by self-excluded customers, compensation of £62,000 to the employer from which money was stolen and £4.25 million is fined in order to pay for socially responsible cause to invest in measures to tackle gambling-related harm.

The UK Gambling Commission’s chief executive, 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 888 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 learned.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said:

“This outrageous case is more evidence of a gambling industry that needs to do more to protect vulnerable customers. With 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK and over 2 million more at risk of addiction, the sector has to take responsibility and help people not to bet more than they can afford.”

Marc Etches, who is chief executive of the UK’s gambling charityGambleAware took the opportunity to show his dissatisfaction by issuing a statement of his own:

“Clearly this company did not do enough to protect vulnerable customers. The industry is working at improving protection of vulnerable customers and finding ways to intervene. But much more needs to be done and it needs to be done more quickly.

Responsible Gambling or Treatment of an Addiction?

If you have difficulty staying away from an online casino, try self-excluding at the same time as you are seeking real help.

Responsible gambling in the form of self-exclusion is part of the responsibility every online casino has to uphold in order to keep successful in the gambling industry and every kind of “self-exclusion” and “responsible gambling” should be distinguished from treatment, since they are only aiming at the gamblers whose gambling has already resulted in obvious consequences:

The treatment of people with gambling problems and have reached out for treatment remains the of specialists working in public health programmes, including counseling and other health services.

Of course, to help gamblers manage their addiction, self-exclusion a good way to go about it – but even bookmakers admit the system is flawed and hard to police, while critics claim that online casino staff which is meant to help you with this process may be discouraged from enforcing a self-exclusion. This might be the result of a commission-based salary system or a way not to lose any customers.

The process is fiddly and time-consuming. Anybody seeking help must take a form and passport photo to individual branches they feel they may try to bet in, although they can often nominate other branches on the form.

The UK Gambling Commission’s figures show the number of self-exclusion has risen by 45%, from roughly 11,500 to 20,823 in just two years. Although as one individual often fills out multiple self-exclusion forms, this doesn’t indicate how many individuals are affected.

The UK Gambling Commission and GambleAware

The UK Gambling Commission’s job is to review the gambling sector, which includes looking at social responsibility within the online gambling industry and protects players from any misuse from any online casino. They also analyze and issues statements in areas that are lacking or found to be flawed.

UKGC is also taking a big part in regulating gambling legislation and supervising gaming law in the UK. They are also responsible for advising the national and local government on gambling-related issues.

UKGC issues licenses to online casinos, which gives them control to issue fines and revoke licenses, and is tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal gambling within this sector. All serious actors in the gambling industry is sanctioned with a UKGC license and this is a huge sign of comfort for a player to feel safe gambling. Until now?

It’s not the first time UKGC has taken affirmative action against online casinos. 

In 2014 the online gambling site Canbet, which was under UKGC’s regulation, was sentenced to repay millions to swindled customers. This was such a huge hit on UKGC’s credibility in handing out licenses to online casinos. Although they resolved the issue, they failed accordingly to protect UK gamblers from rouge casinos.

In September 2014, another online casino site regulated under UKGC named BetButler, disappeared surprisingly after already received complaints from players about slow payout and withdrawal times. This site left only one message stating:

“The Board of BetButler Limited has been approached by a third party regulated gaming business to acquire the customer database, including all balances and pending withdrawal requests, of the business. This process will take some days to complete.”

Although BetButlers financial situation had been investigated many months before this, UKGC was criticized for not taking action before it was too late.

GambleAware is offering information to help people to be aware of their gambling and what safe and responsible gambling mean. They are the leading charity in the UK to assist in gambling-related issues and problem-solving. They are a completely independent charity organization funded solely by donations.

They aim to stop people from getting into gambling-related problems, such as a self-destructive way of gambling and everything regarding any financial impact.

Tips to Manage Your Gambling Experience

As most casinos offer a “responsible gambling” page, this is a good place to start once you are thinking of registering at an online casino. A casino often offers their customers the option to limit the amount that is possible to bet and/or deposit. This is always accessible through contacting the customer support and you can even demand this to be an option.

This kind of “safeguards” helps you if you feel like you are having a hard time controlling your gambling and can set your deposit limits, loss limits, wagering limits, and session time limits.

A casino that is offering the possibility to implement a reality check function into your account can be life-saving if you are the kind of person that gets lost in time spent. This will notify you whenever you have played for 15, 30, or 60 minutes depending on your settings. It will also inform you how long you’ve been consecutively playing as well as how much you have won and how much you have lost.

Decide how big your gambling budget should be each month. Be honest with yourself.

  • Decide what you think is an acceptable amount to lose in a month
  • Keep a log on how often you play
  • Keep a log on the duration of each session

 

Here are some links that might be of interest to you:

Know how the casinos frame their welcome bonuses in this Best Casino Bonus for New Player

Get a better understanding in how to utilize and control your gambling experience by reading 6 Reasons why most people fail at online casino

Read about and find online casinos sites UK

Read more about BeGambleAware

Last Updated on September 5, 2020