UK data regulator to probe Sky Bet use of targetted ads

The complaint was made by the campaign group, Clean Up Gambling.
The complaint was made by the campaign group, Clean Up Gambling.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has received a complaint that alleges the operator uses profiles to target players with an addiction.

UK.- The UK data regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has reported that it is investigating a complaint against targeted ads by Sky Bet. The complaint claims that the operator uses data to create profiles enabling it to target gambling addicts.

The complaint was brought by the campaign group Clean Up Gambling. It says that Flutter’s Sky Bet uses profiling to target players with an addiction. A report that it commissioned in February alleges that the operator and its partners created detailed behaviour profiles and shared thousands of data points with dozens of third parties in order to target gambling addicts. It said it believes other operators used similar tactics.

Clean Up Gambling director Matt Zarb-Cousin told the Financial Times that the report highlighted the “sharp end of data abuse” and showed evidence of “profiling being harnessed to exacerbate” addiction. However, Flutter claims it uses the data to monitor for abusive behaviour and protect customers as part of its legal obligations.

However, the allegations are another blow to Sky Bet’s responsibility agenda just after it extended its English Football League deal, stressing its emphasis on responsible gaming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said that its investigation was part of its wider ICO25 Plan, which seeks to protect the most vulnerable people from the misuse of technology. It had already said that it would look into the use of targeted advertising in gambling promotion.

Targeted advertising in general is an area that’s facing some controversy, and the European Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act are intended to place some limits on the activity.

The law firm Bird & Bird has warned that the gambling industry should “expect greater scrutiny on the use of adtech in the sector”. It advised in a research note: “It would be prudent for UK-facing gambling businesses to carefully consider the use of adtech, targeted advertising and marketing calls.”

See also: Steven Monaghan steps down as Sky Bet sports betting MD 

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