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Flutter Entertainment-owned Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) will pay a £1.2m fine to the Gambling Commission for a high-profile marketing failure.

On 2 November 2021, SBG distributed a Sky Vegas promotional offer of 100 free spins to customers who bet £5 to 41,395 self-excluded gamblers and a further 249,159 individuals who had previously unsubscribed from the brand’s marketing emails.

The Gambling Commission ruled the actions breached SBG’s licence conditions and therefore decided to impose the fine.

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

“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 & 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,” he concluded.

Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter’s UK & Ireland division, 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.”

This is the latest in a series of fines and regulatory settlements imposed by the Commission in recent months.

Last week, the regulator revealed a £9.4m fine to be imposed upon 888, in addition to extensive independent auditing, for failures identified during an investigation ending in October 2020.

Last year (2020-21) was a record year for Gambling Commission fines and regulatory settlements, with the regulator demanding a total £32.1m from operators for breaches of their licence conditions.

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