UKGC Issues £490,000 Fine To Paddy Power Betfair For Marketing To Vulnerable Players

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PPB Counterparty Services Limited, commonly known as Paddy Power and Betfair, must pay a fine of £490,000 to the UK Gambling Comission (UKGC) for marketing to clients who self-excluded, meaning they recognized they had a problem controlling their gambling and asked that the operator rejects their service.

Accidentally sent a push notification:

Paddy Power Betfair has informed the UK gambling regulator that in November 2021 it had accidentally sent an increase in odds push notification for bets on an English Premier League football match from its app to Apple devices connected to customer accounts that self-excluded through Gamstop. However, the company also said that this was due to human mistake and that they didn’t do it on purpose.

After the investigation, the UKGC decided that PPB had failed to act accordingly to paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Social Responsibility Code Provision (SRCP) 3.5.3. and that it violated Commission’s rules which demand gambling companies to take all reasonable steps to avert any marketing material from being sent to a self-excluded client and to take steps to get rid of the name and details of a self-excluded client from any marketing databases within two days of receipt of a completed notice of self-exclusion.

Commenting on the fine, Kay Roberts, Gambling Commission Executive Director of Operations, said: “Although there is no evidence the marketing was intentional, nor that all the people with apps saw the notification or that self-excluded customers were allowed to gamble, we take such breaches seriously. We would advise all operators to learn from the operator’s failures and ensure their systems are robust enough to always prevent self-excluded customers from being sent promotional material.” Ian Brown, CEO of Flutter UK & Ireland, added: “Flutter’s ambition is to lead the industry in safer gambling and we apologize for this mistake. The push notification in question was sent in error and, once discovered by our team, we took immediate steps to rectify the issue and proactively notified the Gambling Commission. We know that neither Paddy Power nor the regulator received any complaints about the message. We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission in all areas and we are committed to operating at the highest possible levels of responsibility.”

Moreover, it is still unknown how many clients actually saw the notification because in order to see it, they need to have the Paddy Power app installed and push notifications allowed.

Acceptance of penalty and admission of fault:

The company recognized its mistake and accepted the penalty. However, that was not initially the case, as it appealed against the UKGC’s decision. But the appeal was dropped following the company’s decision to pay a substitute fine of £490,000.

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