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BETAT - self-exclusion breach


Found for the Casino - The UKGC's self-exclusion system clearly states that using a different email address to the one you self-excluded with may cause new accounts to be missed. Players who are self-excluded should not use different details to attempt to get round the exclusions they have put in place.

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Player's Complaint

I opened an account with Betat on 26/8/2017 and closed it 24 hours later when I discovered they were owned by NRR Entertainment with whom I had self-excluded accounts (Betat, Slotty Vegas and Lucky Dino). Betat confirmed that I had self-excluded an account with them in 2014 but that the email address and telephone number that I used on my new account were different. I had a constant exchange of emails with the owner of Betat and he was insistent that they could not have identified me by name, address and date of birth alone and it was even suggested that I deliberately changed my email address and telephone number to circumvent the self-exclusion which was untrue, especially as three years had passed since I self-excluded. I am still convinced that I should not have been able to open an account with Betat as my personal details were exactly the same as those registered on the excluded accounts (as I pointed out to Betat - name, address and date of birth can never change whereas email addresses, phone numbers and bank details can change over time). The fact I was able to register a new account whilst self-excluded would suggest that Betat's procedures were not robust enough to prevent self-excluded players accessing their gambling services. I even quoted the following from the UKGC website regarding an operator who had been fined for the same failure:

"there were weaknesses in their online registration system which enabled self-excluded customers to open new accounts by retaining some personal details but changing all of the following details:

•user name

•bank card

•email address.

This does not comply with the requirements in Social Responsibility Code 3.5.3(1) and (6)"

Betat referred me to their ADR but they do not deal with licensing issues and refunds so I had no one else to fight my cause until I found the Pogg and now I am hoping you can mediate and help me obtain the refund I truly believe I am entitled to.

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6 Responses

User icon
September 14, 2018

Hi nanatrish - welcome to!

Unfortunately there's nothing we can do to help you in this instance. While you are right that there are some instances where a change in details would not undermine an operator's responsibility for detecting further registrations, even the UKGC have agreed - via their license wide self-exclusion program GamStop that certain fields cannot change. One of those fields is email address. This can be seen in the GamStop terms and conditions which read as follows:

"GAMSTOP may not be able to spot inaccuracies or other differences in account details, and we may not be able to prevent you accessing accounts you have created using, for example, email addresses that you have not provided to us as part of the registration process. "

While you can and will share a name, date of birth or address with other people, email addresses are unique.

You can take this issue direct to the UKGC if you feel you have a case, but this is not an issue we could help with.

Sorry we could not be of further assistance.


User icon
September 14, 2018

I appreciate your feedback and am sorry you can't help me on this occasion, however, you have given me a platform to air my concerns. I will contact the UKGC as per your advice as I have discovered I am not the only one who has been affected by the weaknesses in Betat's online registration system. I do feel I have a case as clearly the UKGC does not consider it acceptable for self-excluded customers to be able to open new accounts using alternative email addresses and quite rightly so. As an example, an individual self-excludes as they no longer wish to gamble. In a moment of weakness or when feeling vulnerable they create a new email address and use it to register a new account - that makes a self-exclusion worthless. Operators must have more robust procedures in place to prevent this from happening. GAMSTOP will never successfully implement a license wide self-exclusion program if they too are just blocking current email addresses of individuals, emails can be deleted and created at the touch of a button whereas names, dates of birth and addresses are permanent. Whilst I agree with you (and Betat) that I could share my name, date of birth or address with other people, the three combined are unique to me. After submitting my case to the UKGC I will attempt to recover my deposits (£745) from a small claims court. Thank you for the opportunity to make public my concerns.

User icon
September 15, 2018

Hi nanatrish, Unfortunately I cannot agree with you in this respect. The self-exclusion contract is a two way agreement. The operator take responsibility for ensuring that you cannot re-access their services under specifically and explicitly defined criteria. If they fail to do that under those criteria then the financial onus falls on them. However, give the two way nature of the agreement, the player is agreeing not to try to re-access the operator's services by changing their details and making it difficult for the operator to detect further registrations. Where the player does this, whether intentionally or inadvertently, the operator are no longer liable for your actions. This is a unique contract - there is no other business that will take liability to this degree for the financial actions of their customers and as such there need to be tightly defined rules with regard to how the system operates. As shown above, GamStop - who were set-up as part of the UKGC's efforts with respect to Responsible Gambling - clearly stipulate within their terms that if you change email address the system may not function as intended. Your assertion regarding your name, DoB and address combined being unique is correct, but limited in its applicability. This requires a person to view the account to spot the match unless each of these details match exactly. A change in the way you enter your name (maybe you include your middle name in one account and not another, use a hyphen or a shorter version of your name), using different formats for your DoB (DD/MM/YY, DD/MM/YYYY, MM/DD/YY, MM/DD/YYYY) or in how you enter your address (Street vs St, etc etc) stop an automated system spotting the match. These strategies are unreliable and as such when creating a system to search thousands of accounts operators look to fields that should always produce an exact match. Email address is an obvious choice for this purpose and this is part of the reason that GamStop specifically asks you to include all your emails and allows the facility to update your information and add new details if you do register new email addresses. And you are correct that there are weaknesses in GamStop and all other Responsible Gambling tools including our own BetBlocker. There are way round the barriers these tool create. But none of these tools and services are intended as a magic bullet. They are intended as an aid to help you manage your gambling responsibly or stop. In the same way that asking your local off-license not to sell you alcohol again cannot prevent you from going to a different shop doesn't make this strategy invalid or valueless, simply because there is not a system that can guarantee that you will not be able to re-access gambling again doesn't make a system like GamStop useless. These tools provide a valuable aid but only where you actively engage with the system and understand the limitations. Thanks, ThePOGG

User icon
September 18, 2018

Hello ThePOGG,

Thank you for your response which I have read thoroughly just in case I have been missing something. What I don't understand is why TABCORP were penalised by the UKGC earlier this year for a breach of social responsibility code 3.5.3(1) and(6)and made to return funds to self excluded players as part of the penalty imposed and the reason given for the breach was allowing vulnerable self-excluded players to open new accounts with some details changed including email addresses. As I said to you before, I did not deliberately circumvent the self-exclusion, three years on I was registering with current details which included a change of email address, all personal details remained the same. I have no doubt you have seen the report but I attach the UKGC findings again.

"Breach of Social Responsibility Code 3.5.3(1) & (6) (self-exclusion)

There were weaknesses in Tabcorp UK’s online registration system which enabled self-excluded customers to open new accounts by retaining some personal details but changing all of the following details:

•user name

•bank card

•email address.

This does not comply with the requirements in Social Responsibility Code 3.5.3(1) and (6), which states:

•Licensees must have and put into effect procedures for self-exclusion and take all reasonable steps to refuse service or to otherwise prevent an individual who has entered a self-exclusion agreement from participating in gambling, and

•Licensees must put into effect procedures designed to ensure that an individual who has self-excluded cannot gain access to gambling. These procedures must include:

•a a register of those excluded with appropriate records (name, address, other details, and any membership or account details that may be held by the operator)

•b a record of the card numbers to be excluded

•c staff training to ensure that staff are able to administer effectively the systems

•d the removal of access from those persons found to have gambled or who have attempted to gamble on the facilities.

Between November 2016 and May 2017 Tabcorp UK received 12 complaints from self-excluded customers that they had been able to circumvent self-exclusion arrangements.

In May 2017 Tabcorp UK performed a review of the system and notified us of the issue through key event reporting. Its investigation revealed that between August 2016 and May 2017, 118 self-excluded customers had opened a further 141 duplicate accounts. Tabcorp UK proactively refunded deposits on 127 accounts, totalling £24,174.97 and €50. Of the remaining 14 accounts, withdrawals exceeded deposits.

Tabcorp UK accepts that as a result of the complaints received from self-excluded customers, it should have been aware of the weaknesses in its self-exclusion procedures, addressed those weaknesses sooner than it did, and reported the issue to the Commission at an earlier date.

Tabcorp UK accepts the breach of the social responsibility code, in that it did not have and did not put into effect a fully compliant system to prevent individuals who had entered a self-exclusion agreement from participating in gambling, and that it did not take all reasonable steps to prevent individuals who had entered a self-exclusion agreement from gambling. This impacted vulnerable customers."

Why is this rule not applicable to all operators or am I misunderstanding the UKGC ruling?



User icon
September 18, 2018

Hi nanatrish,

I can't comment on the previous ruling given by the UKGC as we weren't involved in the discussion of this issue with the operator or the regulator. However these rulings do not come down based on single complaints (except in cases of exceptionally high value complaints) and almost always involve a series of infractions rather than a single issue.

Further to this, as pointed out above, the UKGC run self-exclusion scheme explicitly states that using differing email addresses from those you register with GamStop is a basis for the system failing. Where this regulator authorised scheme goes so far as to explicitly state this in their terms the rules are clear.

I appreciate you may not have done this with intent, but if you want GamStop to function in the future you need to ensure you provide them with the information that they need to ensure operators can detect your attempts to register.

If you want to pursue this issue further you should look to take your issue to the UKGC directly. From our position, and given the terms put in place by the UKGC's own self-exclusion scheme there's no ground on which we can pursue this complaint.



User icon
September 26, 2018

Thanks for your time. I am happy for you to now publish my complaint.

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nanatrish consented for ThePOGG to act on their behalf and share the personal information that they provide to ThePOGG with the following agencies for the purposes of resolving their complaint:

September 14, 2018

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