PT Entertainment Services Condemned for “systemic failures in player protection”
by Glenn Baird - May 27, 2020
The UKGC have today released information on an investigation they carried out into PT Entertainment Services (PTES), with a focus on the www.winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk brands.
The investigation found PTES guilty of “systemic failures in player protection”, surrounding the tragic death of a customer who took their own life in 2017.
The investigation began in March 2019, at which point PTES surrendered their licence. The UKGC continued to pursue the case, believing it was in the public interest to do so.
The regulator discovered that there were “systematic failures in player protection and anti-money laundering processes.” They reveal that there were no attempts to speak to the customer about his gambling, despite the fact that there were clear signs that social responsibility interactions needed to be taking place, the most obvious being when his debit card was declined. Add to this the fact that he was given treated as a VIP without any attempt to verify and his income and the Commission conclude that these were “serious and unacceptable failings.”
More general failings, outside of this specific case were also found, to the extent that Commission state that the company would have received a fine of £3.5m if they had not already surrendered their licence. However, the UKGC has said that they will continue to investigate individuals involved who still hold personal licences.
Neil McArthur, the Commission’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a tragic case which came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life. I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.”
“Although PTES has ceased trading we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.’
“Our investigations into the role played by key individuals at PTES are continuing. As such, it would be inappropriate to say more about the specific case at this time.
“This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high value customers.’’
The report reveals that the customer made deposits adding up to £148,095 between December 2016 and April 2017. On the 5th of April 2017 the customer deposited and lost £119,395, with no checks made to determine whether or not he could afford to.
The Commission looked beyond this specific case and into the top 20 winning and losing players. Of the 40 accounts, only 3 underwent any sort of social responsibility interactions. During the period 2016/2017 only 0.26% were sent socially responsibility emails, which is a very low percentage.
As PTES surrendered their licence they were not in a position to pay the £3.5m fine that the Commission would have imposed and instead donated £619,395 to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, whilst Playtech, the parent company payed the Commission £5m.