Playtech “takes full responsibility” and apologises for PTES failings

Playtech has issued a statement following a report from the Gambling Commission led to the company losing its licence.

Playtech has issued an apology for the failings of its subsidiary PT Entertainment Services (PTES) after a customer took their own life.

Yesterday, the UK Gambling Commission published details of its investigation into PTES which uncovered widespread failings in the company’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes. This resulted in the company failing to take action over an individual’s excessive gambling habits.

The case that sparked the investigation saw a customer sign up for an account in December 2016 who went on to spend £4.5m on the PTES brands, Winner and Titanbet. The customer lost £119,395 between 1 and 5 April 2017 before committing suicide.

Playtech said it takes full responsibility for the failings that led to the customer taking his life.

Playtech’s response

In a statement, Playtech said: “The regulatory breaches identified in PTES between 2015 and 2017 were not reflective of the high standards the Playtech Group set itself at the time and not representative of the high standards the Group delivers to its B2B partners today.”

Playtech’s board also offered its “deepest sympathies” to the victim’s families. Claire Milne, the board’s interim chair, will contact the family to personally apologise for the company’s failings.

Milne was responsible for leading a review into the company’s response to the case and noted that “decisive action” was taken to address the failing of PTES before it surrendered its British B2C gambling licences.

The review also saw several key management and personal management licence holders leave the company. PTES has also been brought under the group’s compliance function to help improve oversight of the subsidiary.

In its response, Playtech noted that the decision to surrender its licences was part of a strategic decision taken before the UK regulator’s investigation began, so that the company could focus on B2B operations in the UK.

The company also said it will increase the £619,395 PTES donated to charities dedicated to reducing gambling harm to a donation of £3.5m. This figure is in line with the figure that the Gambling Commission would have fined PTES if it had not given up its licences.

Milne said: “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.”

Milne also said that the Commission’s investigation and its findings “do not reflect where Playtech stands today.”

The interim chair went onto say: “In speaking with many of our stakeholders, it was clear they felt the failings were not representative of the Playtech they know. Through this action, we want to send a message to them and the wider industry of who we are today and aspire to be.

“Raising industry standards on safer gambling and being a leader in responsible business is central to our strategy as a technology partner.”

Milne added. “In my new role as interim chairman, I am fully committed to this continuing to be a key focus of ours going forward.”

Other actions being taken by Playtech

As noted in the Commission’s investigation, Playtech has committed £5m to promote a better understanding of “healthy online living” and the connection between online gambling and mental health.

The supplier said that it has made the development of safer products, player engagement tools and analytics solutions a central part of its strategy, through partnerships with charities, academics, and operators.

Playtech noted that the acquisition of BetBuddy, a behavioural analytics platform, is an example of its efforts to help clients identify and manage vulnerable players.

Chief executive More Weizer said: “We take full responsibility for these regulatory breaches. As a technology specialist, Playtech focuses on harnessing its capabilities in data-driven intelligence to place consumer protection at the centre of every stage of the player experience from game design to real-time engagement and messaging.

“In recent years, we have invested significantly to seek to ensure that these types of breaches do not happen again, including addressing the specific issues raised by the Commission.”

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