Paddy Power Betfair to pay $606,000 fine for marketing to vulnerable consumers

A Flutter Entertainment brand, trading as Paddy Power and Betfair (PPB), will pay $606,000 to send promotional push notifications to devices linked to self-excluded customers. This was a direct fine, not a regulatory settlement.

Self-exclusion apps are used by gamblers to voluntarily ban them from gambling for a restricted period of time. Self-exclusion apps are often used by people struggling to control gambling and vulnerable people. GamStop is the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme for the online industry.

PPB is being fined because, on 21 November 2021, the operator’s app sent a push notification offering improved odds for a football match between Tottenham and Leeds to devices linked to registered GamStop accounts or devices linked to own accounts – deleted with the licensee.

As a consequence of violating the rules implemented by the Gambling Commission, PPB was fined $606,000. His responsibilities were to take all measures to prevent any marketing material being sent to a self-excluded customer and to remove self-excluded punters’ data from any marketing database within two days of receiving notification that the customer has chosen to self-exclude.

This fine comes a month after Betfair received a SEK 4 million fine from the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) for allowing customers to bet on the Allsvenskan Under-21 football league.

Flutter UK&I CEO Ian Brown sent a statement to Gambling Insider, saying: “Flutter’s ambition is to lead the industry in safer gaming and we apologize for this mistake. The push notification in question was sent in error and once discovered by our team, we took immediate action to rectify the issue and notified the Gambling Commission.”

“We are aware that neither Paddy Power nor the regulator have received any complaints about the message. We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission in all areas and are committed to operating with the highest levels of accountability possible,” he added.

Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations for the Gambling Commission, said: “While there is no evidence that the marketing was intentional, nor that all people with apps saw the notification or that self-excluded customers were allowed to play, we take these violations seriously. “

“We advise all operators to learn from operator failures and ensure their systems are robust enough to always prevent self-excluded customers from receiving promotional material,” concluded Kay.