Gaming firm ‘cash back incentive’ sparks concern
Locally-based online gaming company Bet365 has been accused of preying on “vulnerable” customers through cash back incentives that keep gamblers locked in a cycle of betting.
The incentives are entirely legal but campaigners expressed serious concern that the practice encourages ‘problem betting’.
This follows a Daily Mail investigation which saw a reporter spend three weeks undercover at the betting firm’s Gibraltar headquarters.
According to the newspaper customers who rack up huge losses at Bet365 are rewarded with weekly cash returns of up to ten per cent so that they can carry on playing.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling (APPG), led calls for a sweeping overhaul of UK gambling laws.
He told The Mail: “Make no mistake – giving gamblers money to keep losing will turn them into addicts as sure as night follows day.”
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chairman of the APPG, also told the newspaper: “Bet365 appear to be deliberately preying on vulnerable people and encouraging customers to rack up huge losses to boost their own profits.”
The gaming firm did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
However, the a spokesman for Bet365 told The Mail: “Bet365 prides itself on providing a safe environment for its customers and goes above and beyond its legal and regulatory requirements to do so, including those set out in the Gambling Commission Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice and we fully refute any allegation or suggestion to the contrary.”
“Bet365 is at the forefront of various industry initiatives to further promote and develop, safer gambling practices, including its participation in gambling treatment provider Gamcare’s social responsibility quality trademark scheme, the Safer Gambling Standard.”
“As the LCCP makes clear, operators in the gambling industry are entitled to reward their loyal customers provided they do so in a socially responsible way, as Bet365 does.”
“Bet365 takes specific and extensive actions to identify, monitor and assist customers who may be at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm, including by way of the suppressing of marketing material to any such customers and ensuring they are not inappropriately incentivised to intensify their gambling.”
A spokesman for the Gibraltar Government said it was aware of the article in the Mail.
“The contents of the Daily Mail article, which notably does not contain any allegations of specific regulatory breaches either in the UK or Gibraltar, is primarily an opinion piece, weaving together a number of disparate threads and opinions, as well as calling for regulatory change,” the government spokesman said.
“Bet 365 is regulated both in Great Britain and Gibraltar and we are currently reviewing with the company the circumstances leading to the publication of this article, to include the actions of the journalist in question.”