Paddy Power Fined After Sending Push Notifications to Players Who Have Self-Excluded

May 30th, 2023: Through the Gambling Commission, the UK gambling industry is serious about its efforts to promote Responsible Gambling. So it’s no longer surprising to know the Commission randomly flags operators for breaking the rules or imposes penalties and fines for acts that compromise Responsible Gambling policies. The bookmaker Paddy Power is the latest operator to get flagged recently.

According to multiple news stories, Paddy Power was fined by the UKGC after sending push notifications to players who have already self-excluded from gambling, inviting them to wager on a football match. According to the Gambling Commission, the company breaches social responsibility rules and needs to pay £490,000.

Push notifications to players who have self-excluded

According to reports, the incident happened in November 2021 when the company’s mobile app sent an offer of enhanced odds for the Premier League match between Leeds United and Spurs to devices that we linked to an account already self-excluded with GAMSTOP or with the operator. Self-Exclusion is a program of GAMSTOP and licensed casinos where players can voluntarily block themselves from betting sites, often in response to concerns that they are playing beyond limits. In most UK operators, bettors can self-exclude for 24 hours, 30 days, or even 6 months. Pliers interested in self-excluding can contact the operator’s Customer Support or work with GAMSTOP.

Under the rules, operators must have taken steps to remove the name and details of players from any marketing databases within two days after they have applied for self-exclusion. This step is a crucial requirement for operators with a UK license. 

Paddy Power says it was a ‘human error’

According to the representatives of Paddy Power, the incident was due to a ‘human error,’ and the team has already apologized. But for the Gambling Commission, this is still a lapse in management, and Paddy Power must pay the fine. According to Kay Roberts, the Gambling Commission Executive Director for Operations, operators must comply with regulations and always learn from failures. According to Roberts, “Although there is no evidence the marketing was intentional, nor that all the people with apps saw the notification, or that self-excluded customer were allowed to gamble, we take such breaches seriously”.The Commission advises all operators to learn from their failures and ensure that their systems are robust enough always to protect the self-excluded players.

Flutter’s Chief Executive for the UK and Ireland has already apologized for this mistake. According to Ian Brown, the push notifications were sent in error. Once the team discovered the lapses, they “took immediate steps to rectify the issue and proactively notified the Gambling Commission.”

He added that the team “knows that neither Paddy Power nor the regulator received any complaints about the message. We continue to work closely with the Gambling Commission in all areas and are committed to operating at the highest possible levels of responsibility”.

This isn’t the first time that Paddy Power caught the attention of regulations and paid hefty fines. In March last year, Sky Bet, a brand of Flutter Entertainment, and Betfair and Paddy Power had to pay £1.17m in fines for sending promotional materials to those who have already self-excluded, and the issue was repeated last November 2021.

Paddy Power