Playtech will implement a review of the ‘group’s position’ led by Interim chair Claire Milne, in response to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) publishing its investigation into ‘systemic failings’ of defunct subsidiary PT Entertainment Services (PTES).
The Board of FTSE technology group confirmed that it ‘takes full responsibility and apologises for the regulatory breaches’, emphasising that the AML and social responsibility failings were not reflective of the high standards the Playtech Group set.
Yesterday, the UKGC published damaging investigation findings highlighting systemic player neglect and AML failings by PTES during the period from May 2015 to September 2017.
The UKGC highlighted that PTES failures had led to the death of an unnamed gambling addict, aged 25, whose family had reported PTES triggering the Commission’s investigation. PTES, the operating company of TitanBet and Winner.co.uk, withdrew from the UK market in 2019.
Milne said: “The findings of this investigation do not reflect where Playtech stands today. 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. 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. In my new role as Interim Chairman, I am fully committed to this continuing to be a key focus of ours going forward.”
Having previously donated £619,395 in recognition of PTES’ regulatory breaches to charities that are dedicated to reducing gambling-related harm as well as supporting education and treatment, Playtech also confirmed that it would be increasing the amount to £3.5m.
This matches the figure deemed appropriate by the regulator had the PTES business not subsequently been closed. The statement noted that the decision to close its subsidiary “was made prior to the commencement of the Gambling Commission’s investigation as part of a strategic decision to focus the group’s efforts on B2B activities in the UK”.
In addition to the increased amount of £3.5 million, Playtech has also committed £5m to five key areas to promote better understanding of ‘healthy online living’ and the relationship between mental health and online gambling.
Operating as the leading technology supplier for the igaming sector, Playtech underlined further safer gambling commitments implemented across the firm’s product development units – including its ongoing expansion of BetBuddy, further investment in safer gambling R&D and developing an ‘industry code’ for designing safer gambling products.
Mor Weizer, Playtech CEO, added: “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.”