Flutter's Sky Bet Fined By UK For Marketing To Self-Excluded

March 9, 2022
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The UK Gambling Commission has fined Sky Betting & Gaming nearly £1.2m for sending “free spins” marketing emails to players who had self-excluded or opted out of receiving marketing.

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The UK Gambling Commission has fined Sky Betting & Gaming nearly £1.2m for sending “free spins” marketing emails to players who had self-excluded or opted out of receiving marketing.

The Flutter Entertainment group distributed a Sky Vegas promotional offer of “Bet £5 get 100 free spins” on November 2 to 41,400 self-excluded customers and nearly 250,00 players who had unsubscribed from the operator’s marketing emails, both violations of licensing agreements, the commission said today.

The fine would have been “a lot higher” had Sky Bet let any of the self-excluded customers actually gamble, if it had failed to cooperate, or if it had not taken “decisive action aimed at preventing a repeat”, said Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes.

The episode confirmed a story that earlier appeared in the Guardian, which said that Sky Vegas had sent messages to the self-excluded during the UK gambling industry’s Safer Gambling Week.

At that time, Sky apologised for the episode and the Gambling Commission said it would investigate.

Today, Rhodes said: “Self-excluded customers are likely to be suffering gambling harm and should absolutely not be sent direct marketing that could tempt them back into gambling.”

Other operators should learn from Sky’s “costly errors”, Rhodes said.

Sky, which has a corporate name of Bonne Terre, was levied the penalty on February 22, although it was only announced today (March 9).

In March 2018, the company was assessed a £1m penalty after the commission found that 736 self-excluded customers were able to open accounts and play, and about 50,000 of those customers received marketing materials.

More than 36,000 self-excluded players also did not have account balances returned to them when they closed their accounts, the commission said.

Last week, Flutter said it spent £45m on safer gambling measures in 2021 and it pledged to have 75 percent of its active online customers using Play Well tools by 2030.

In the past two weeks, the commission has assessed 888 Holdings £9.4m for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings and BetVictor £2m for similar violations.

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