The company that operates the popular Sky Bet brand in the UK has been fined by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). Bonne Terre Limited, the company behind the Sky Betting websites, is set to pay £1.17m as a fine for failing to protect vulnerable customers.
The incident that grabbed the attention of the UKGC saw Sky Vegas sending out promotional material to customers who had joined the self-exclusion program. Sky Vegas is the casino section of the Skybet website.
The incident took place on November 2nd. In an e-mail sent out to customers, the operator said it was running a promotion that rewards 100 spins if players deposited £5. This e-mail reached the inbox of 41,395 self-excluded players. It was also sent to 249,159 players who have unsubscribed from the operator’s mailing list.
It was deemed that sending these e-mails out was targeting vulnerable customers, as well as sending promotions to those who did not want them. This goes directly against guidelines that have been laid out by the UKGC when it comes to social responsibility.
SkyBet is one of the biggest betting operators in the UK. No one is above the rules though, and the UKGC wants to make that clear by fining the company. This was emphasized by Andrew Rhodes, the Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive. They said that self-excluded customers are the ones who are most likely to be suffering from gambling issues. He reiterated that these people should 100% not be sent marketing material that could bring them back into the world of online gambling.
Rhodes said that this should be a cautionary tale for all operators in the UK. Companies should learn from Sky Betting and Gaming’s mistakes and make sure that their systems ensure that they don’t do the same thing.
Rhodes confirmed that Sky Betting had been cooperative with the issue. They said that the fine that was handed out would have been much higher had they not cooperated and had they allowed any of the players to use the promotion and gamble. They also confirmed that the company had taken decisive action to ensure the incident doesn’t happen again.
This is the third fine to be handed out to major operators in recent weeks. Both 888 and BetVictor have also been handed fines for similar offenses by the UKGC. The UKGC is well-known for enforcing its standards across the board, with a license from the organization being one of the most difficult to obtain.