888 responds to Gambling Commission’s unprecedented £7.8 million safeguarding penalty

  • Online betting site allowed self-excluded players to gamble
  • 888 pledges to review and improve safety tools for players

888 has released a statement responding to the UK Gambling Commission’s license review and subsequent £7.8 million penalty as reported by Casinopedia yesterday.

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888 has said it has made changes following the UKGC penalty

Yesterday the operator gave a detailed response to the sanction, recognizing that the group made “historic failings” in relation to safeguarding, via safe casinos, vulnerable players.

The brand, which runs the online casino, sports betting, poker and bingo operations, also confirmed that it is working with the regulator to improve safety, including expanding its software so it can better identify and support players with addiction problems.

Largest ever fine issued as betting company pays back players

The online betting operator found itself under scrutiny from the Commission earlier this year. It subsequently emerged that self-excluded players had been able to access 888 services and wager a combined total of £3.5 million.

As part of that review, it was also revealed that a single player had wagered £1.3 million over 13 months – including stolen funds – but 888 did not sufficiently protect the player from harm at any point.

The players were able to access the site through its bingo platform, bypassing software and account blocks that the self-exclusion process is supposed to enact immediately.

As a result of intervention by the UK’s gambling regulator, 888 must pay back the £3.5 million to players who had opted to self-exclude.

A further £62,000 has been awarded to the employer of the individual player who stole to fund an out of control gambling habit, covering their losses and legal costs.

Finally, 888 must donate £4.25 million to an unidentified “socially responsible cause”, determined by the Gambling Commission, as a fine.

888 responds with press release

An official statement was put out by 888, confirming that the group was complying with all actions taken by the Gambling Commission and that a “voluntary regulatory settlement” had been reached.

The company stated it never intended to benefit financially from the flaw in self-exclusion processes, and that swift action was taken when the problem became apparent – including self-reporting to the regulator in anticipation of further action.

Online player safety measures improved

The online betting firm has also confirmed that the software glitch is resolved, and that stricter measures have been introduced to protect vulnerable players against harmful gambling problems – including expanding algorithms that detect problem players automatically.

“We can observe broader trends in customer behaviour and better identify potentially vulnerable players,” the statement reads.

888 staff have received stringent training in intervention methods, and the threshold for intervention has also been lowered.

“888 is absolutely committed to a proactive policy of corporate and social responsibility that reflects the high professional and ethical standards we set for ourselves across the business”.

The statement concludes. “The review process has pushed 888 to enhance its responsible gambling technology and policies.”

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