Casino gaming company Playtech has put out an apology for the failings of one of its subsidiaries, PT Entertainment Services (PTES) over a case that led to a customer taking their own life.
The case involved a customer who signed up with the PTES brands Winner and Titanbet in December 2016 before going on to spend £4.5 million, losing around £119,000 between during the first five days of April 2017 alone. Tragically, the man went on to commit suicide.
The UK Gambling Commission launched an investigation that uncovered widespread failings in the business’ social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes. These failings meant that no action was taken over the individual’s excessive gambling.
In a statement issued this week, Playtech said it took full responsibility for the failures, saying that the breaches did not reflect the high standards that the Group sets for itself. Playtech’s board expressed their deepest sympathies to the victim’s family, and the interim chair, Claire Milne, said that she will be contacting the family to apologise personally for the failings of PTES.
Milne has also led a review into the business’ response to the case, and said that they had taken decisive action to address the failings, before PTES it surrendered its British licences. The action included a number of key management licence holders leaving the business.
In addition, Playtech have committed to increase the £619,395 donated by PTES to charities working to reduce gambling harm to £3.5 million, in line with the fine that the UKGC would have levied if PTES had not given up their licences. Milne said the investigation’s findings are not reflective of where the company is today, but acknowledged that serious failings had been identified:
“But while the company has made many positive and important changes, we feel it is only right for us to recognise these historic failings by offering this increased amount. In speaking with many of our stakeholders, it was clear they felt the failings were not representative of the Playtech they know.”
She added that the Group was focused on raising industry standards and leading the way on business responsibility. She highlighted the £5 million that the Group has committed to promoting healthy online behaviour as well as the development of safer products, and player engagement tools, in addition to engagements with operators and charities to increase standards.
The details of the failings at the Playtech subsidiary have come at a time when the gaming sector in the UK and across Europe is under fire for its approach to offering gaming services during the coronavirus pandemic shut-down, which has led to the UKGC introducing tougher rules in key areas, particularly associated with marketing and promotions.