Sky Betting and Gaming to Terminate Affiliate Programme
by Glenn Baird - September 9, 2017
Sky Betting and Gaming have announced that their affiliate programme will be terminated by the beginning of October.
The decision comes on the back of 888’s record fine of £7.8 million, issued by the Gambling Commission for failing to protect vulnerable, problem gamblers.
A spokesperson for Sky Betting and Gaming has said:
“This difficult decision has been taken to give us more control of our marketing outputs and standards to ensure that we can continue to meet the changing regulatory requirements in our sector.”
The record fine that was issued last week was covered extensively by the mainstream media in UK with politicians jumping on-board to register their disgust at the apparent failures in 888s self-exclusion policy. Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson said:
“This outrageous case is more evidence of a gambling industry that needs to do more to protect vulnerable customers. With 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK and over 2 million more at risk of addiction, the sector has to take responsibility and help people not to bet more than they can afford.”
The message was echoed by gambling charity, GambleAware, with a spokesperson stating that:
“Clearly this company did not do enough to protect vulnerable customers. The industry is working at improving protection of vulnerable customers and finding ways to intervene. But much more needs to be done and it needs to be done more quickly.
“This is a sector that represents more than 40% of gambling and will soon be more than 50%. They [the gambling websites] have access to data in a way that offline businesses [such as high street bookmakers] don’t, so they need to up their game.”
In their own press release The Gambling Commission stated that:
“Safeguarding consumers is not optional. This penalty package of just under £8m reflects the seriousness of 888’s failings to protect vulnerable customers.”
“The 888 sanction package will ensure those affected don’t lose out, that the operator pays the price for its failings via a sum that will go to tackling gambling-related harm and that independent assurance will be given to see that lessons are learned.”
Despite a headline in the Guardian claiming 888 are set for a loss this year because of the fine, the company themselves have made it clear that they are not suffering and that any apparent loss is merely provisional as the company looks to set money aside in the off chance that further fines may occur. Chief executive, Itai Frieberger, said:
“While the industry will continue to face regulatory headwinds in the second half of the year, trading in the third quarter has started well and in line with the board’s expectations. Underpinned by this momentum as well as the proven strengths of the group’s business model the board remains confident that 888 will achieve further progress and deliver its expectations for the full year.”
Sky Betting and Gaming are clearly reacting to the heavy fines and, perhaps more significantly, the negative press that 888 have received by taking matters into their own hands and ensuring that they are in complete control of their entire operation. The move suggests that some betting companies have placed too much trust in their affiliates and it may well follow that the decision is one we see replicated across the industry in The UK.