Mia Gardner | 05 Apr 2018
Whether the offense was as a result of gross negligence or a mere oversight isn’t clear, but the fine was imposed as a result of SkyBet’s failure to thwart attempts by self-excluded customers from registering with its online casinos. Other supervisory breaches were also reported as far as enforcing regulations are concerned.
The fine comes at a hot-pot time in the UK Gambling Commission’s annual schedule, as it is currently reviewing its existing regulations that pertain specifically to online licences. The Commission is also gradually rolling out harder-hitting directives that iGaming operators will be required to comply with.
Despite the $1m penalty price tag connected to the fine, it compares poorly to the £7.8m and £6.2m penalties that were imposed on 888 Holdings and William Hill respectively, earlier this year, for similar offenses.
The scope of the three violations may not have been exactly the same, but even so, the difference in the sizes of the penalties suggest that SkyBet may have been let off the hook quite lightly.
What makes the penalty seem even more overly lenient is the fact that SkyBet was found to be guilty of three separate offences in terms of the prescribed rules and regulations. Firstly, more than 700 SkyBet customers who had registered their accounts on the self-exclusion list, were able to open and register duplicate accounts and access gambling services during the period November 2014 and November 2017.
The second offense relates to advertising and promotional material sent out by the operator to its customers. Approximately 50 000 users registered on the self-exclusion list had received promotional material propagating services by the operator.
Perhaps most disturbing of all is the third offense. During the Gambling Commission’s investigation it became apparent that a total of 36,748 self-excluded customers did not have their running funds returned to them after issuing instructions for the accounts to be closed as the result of self-exclusion.