UKGC found serious failings at PTES

Simona Boshkova | Published 28 May 2020, 10:02 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission had a lot of work this month. About two weeks ago, the regulator published new measures for consumer protection. The new measures come as a result of the research that the Commission conducted. The results showed that some players may be at greater risk of harm while gambling.

In addition, the Commission issued a warning to all gambling operators following FSB failings. UKGC reviewed FBS Technology’s licence and found a couple of failures. Therefore, it reminded gambling operators that they will face regulatory actions if they don’t comply with the rules.

Yesterday, the UK Gambling Commission published the findings of an investigation into PT Entertainment Services (PTES) which showed serious social responsibility, anti-money laundering and VIP failings. The Commission decided to publish its findings to the public and so that other operators may learn from the issues identified in this case.

PTES showed serious failings in a tragic case

PT Entertainment Services used to trade as winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk and is a former Playtech brand. In March 2019, the Gambling Commission started an investigation after being contacted by the family of a man who tragically took his own life in April 2017. The family believed that his death had something to do with his habit.

Following this case, the UKGC conducted an investigation and found serious systemic failings in the way PTES managed in social responsibility, anti-money laundering and VIP processes. PTES gave up on its licence during the investigation, but the Commission decided to continue its investigation, emphasising that it was the public interest to uncover findings.

In addition to this, the UKGC found that the operator failed to go through any customer interaction regarding responsible gaming, even though it was aware that some of his transactions had been declined. Moreover, the operator provided him with VIP status without verifying that the man could afford to spend the money he was playing with.

The operator was also found guilty in more general failings

Moving on, PTES was also found guilty in more general failings like in the way it communicated with its customers that spent a lot of money. If the operator had not surrendered the licence when the investigation started, the Commission would have imposed a penalty of £3.5m.

Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of UKGC, expressed his opinion on this case calling it ‘tragic’. He thanked the man’s family for their bravery in bringing the case to their attention, and the Commission is grateful for the way they have worked in them with such circumstances. He confirmed that the investigation will be completed and their findings will be published, so all operators can learn the lesson from it.

Mr McArthur described how this case, and similar ones, demonstrate why the management of so-called high-value customers has to change. According to UKGC, gambling operators must do everything they can in order to interact with their customers in a responsible way. Also, he added that the Commission will shortly open consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and treat high-value customers