UKGC Charges 888 $10 Million for a Breach of Its Licensing Conditions

September 1st, 2017 | by Kaycee James

888 Holdings Plc, the company in charge of 888poker, has been fined a record $10 million for failing to comply with the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) player protection guidelines.

Sarah Harrison

UKGC chief executive Sarah Harrison reminds operators that social responsibility isn’t optional as the regulator fines 888 $10 million. (Image: gamblingcommission.gov.uk)

Following reports that 888poker and its sister sites, 888casino and 888sport, had been allowed excluded players to ante-up, the UKGC has slapped the operator with an eight-figure fine.

The UKGC started its investigation into the failings back in May 2017, but the final result only came to light on August 30.

Multiple Failures at 888

Detailed in an official press release on the UKGC’s website, the $10 million fine is linked to failures in two areas.

The main infringement uncovered during the three month investigation was that over 7,000 self-excluded players were able to make deposits and play for real money.

According to the report, players that had blocked themselves from 888poker, 888casino and 888sport were still able to place bets on 888bingo. In total, the UKGC calculated that 888bingo accepted $4.4 million in deposits from self-excluded players.

In addition to this regulatory breach, the operator also failed to identify and manage instances of problem gambling. Linking back to an earlier report that found a customer bet more than $70,000 in funds he’d stolen to support his $1 million+ gambling habit, the UKGC concluded 888 had failed to be socially responsible.

Protecting Players Isn’t An Optional Extra

Commenting on the issues, UKGC chief executive Sarah Harrison said that protecting players wasn’t an optional extra that operators could choose to ignore.

In light of this, Harrison confirmed that 888 would have to pay a record fine which would not only send a message to other licensees, but compensate those affected.

“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 learnt,” Harrison said in an official statement.

This isn’t the first time the UK’s iGaming regulator has taken action against a major operator. Back in May 2017, the UKGC found consistent shortfalls in the way bgo was advertising is bonus offers. As part of its mission to protect players and make the industry as transparent as possible, the agency hit bgo with a $388,000 penalty.

Following the latest news, 888 has issued a statement saying that it “regrets” the failures and is now working to implement a variety of systems to prevent similar issues occurring in the future. Additionally, the UKGC has ordered an independent audit into the betting operator’s social responsibility procedures.

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