The British regulator claims the company encouraged a problem gambler until he lost his home, jobs and family.
UK.- Britain’s Gambling Commission released a report that found the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, encouraged a problem gambler to continue his habit until he had lost several jobs, his home and access to his children.
According to the regulator’s report, the man, identified as Customer A, was a regular user of Paddy Power’s fixed-odds betting terminals, which, allow users to place stakes of up to £100 (US$140) every 20 seconds on virtual casino games.
Back in May 2014, staff at a Paddy Power shop became aware that the man was working five separate jobs to fund his gambling and had “no money,” but did not take any measures to reduce his gambling. Senior staff suggested he should be monitored. Later that month, shop staff notified management that Customer A would be attending the shop less frequently, which resulted in a senior staff member to order that steps be taken to increase his visits and time spent in the premises. The staff reacted with “some discomfort” to these comments and later noted Customer A spending heavily and looking “unwell and as if he had not slept for a while.” In August, shop staff learned that Customer A lost all his jobs, was homeless and no longer had access to his children.
“This was grossly at odds with the licensing objective of preventing vulnerable people from being exploited by gambling,” stated the Gambling Commission. The report also outlines Paddy Power’s failure to follow procedures to prevent betting machines being used to launder money from criminal proceeds.
Paddy Power has pledged to donate £280,000 (US$391,580) to “socially responsible causes” and also agreed to improve its anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes, following the report. However, several politicians and lobby groups, including Labour MP Caroline Harris, believe this is not enough. “Sections of the gambling industry appear to be virtually out of control,” said Harris.