Sky Vegas fined almost £1.2m after sending recovering addicts ‘free spins’

The company sent an offer of ‘Bet £5 get 100 free spins’ to 41,395 people who had voluntarily self-excluded in an effort to stop gambling.

Henry Saker-Clark
Wednesday 09 March 2022 11:00 GMT
An online internet gambling site.
An online internet gambling site. (PA Archive)

Sky Vegas has been fined £1.17 million by the gambling watchdog for sending “free casino spins” promotions to recovering addicts.

The Gambling Commission said Sky Vegas, which is owned by betting giant Flutter, sent an offer of “Bet £5 get 100 free spins” to 41,395 people who had voluntarily self-excluded in an effort to stop gambling.

In November, the online casino brand also shared the promotional offer to a further 249,159 customers who had unsubscribed from the operator’s marketing emails.

It comes a week after rival 888 was fined £9.4 million over a number of failings which resulted in customers amassing heavy losses during the Covid pandemic.

The scrutiny comes as the Government continues a landmark review into how the sector is regulated.

The boss of Flutter said it takes its responsibilities “extremely seriously” but apologised after falling short of the necessary standards.

Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive, 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.

“We would advise all operators to learn from Sky Betting and Gaming’s costly errors and ensure their systems are robust enough to always prevent the self-excluded, and those who have clearly rejected marketing, from receiving promotional material.

“This latest fine would have been a lot higher had Sky Betting and Gaming allowed any of the self-excluded customers to actually gamble, failed to cooperate, and not taken decisive action aimed at preventing a repeat.”

Conor Grant, chief executive officer of Flutter UK & Ireland, said: “Flutter takes its responsibility to protect customers extremely seriously, but on this occasion we did not do enough.

“As soon as the error was identified, we ceased communications until the fault could be rectified, notified regulators and apologised to the affected customers.

“We also conducted a thorough investigation into what went wrong, the results of which were provided to regulators, and have put in place measures to ensure that this cannot happen again.

“We accept the Gambling Commission’s findings and once again apologise to those customers who we let down.”

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