The Gambling Commission has fined Camelot UK Limited £3.15 million. The fine follows an investigation into three failures linked to Camelot’s mobile app. The failures had a negative impact on consumers:
- The first failure related to the National Lottery mobile app informing up to 20,000 players that their winning draw-based ticket was a non-winner when they scanned the ticket with the device’s QR scanner.
- The second failure involved 22,210 players who purchased a single draw-based ticket through the app being charged for and receiving two tickets. The players concerned have been identified and either refunded for the duplicated wager or where duplicate wagers were winners, these were honoured as such on a duplicate basis.
- The third failure related to the app sending out marketing messages to app users who had either self-excluded through Gamstop or had been identified by Camelot as showing signs of gambling harm. However, although marketing messages were sent out, none of the 65,400 players were subsequently permitted by the app to purchase a National Lottery product. Self-exclusion is a tool used by consumers who feel they are having trouble controlling their gambling and request that the operator refuse their service.
The Commission’s National Lottery Committee took into account the following facts when considering what sanction was appropriate::
- outcomes for the National Lottery – the Committee agreed that the breaches had placed the statutory objectives at risk and considered that the potential impact on the reputation of the National Lottery could be significant. The Committee noted the representations made with regards to notification of issues, corrective action, and reparations to players;
- outcomes for the players involved – the Committee agreed that there was evidence to show that players had been disadvantaged, misled and/or treated unfairly as a result of the breaches. In respect of the duplicate wagers, the Committee noted the restorative measures taken;
- outcomes for good causes – the Committee agreed that there was no evidence of any impact on the return to good causes;
- operator’s financial gain from non-compliance - the Committee agreed that there was no evidence of any financial gain to the operator from non-compliance; and
- operator’s governance and controls – the Committee agreed there had been recurrence of issues, and evidence of similar matters or root cause problems in the past, and of issues in effectiveness in managing contractors. There was no evidence of reckless or negligent behaviour presented and nor was there any attempt to conceal.
The Committee concluded that an appropriate response to the breaches was to impose a financial penalty in the sum of £3,150,000.
The fine is significant in light of the fact that Allwyn Entertainment Ltd has been named as preferred Applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence, which starts in 2024. This would be the first time that there is a new operator since the National Lottery started.
Today’s announcement reinforces that any operator failing to comply with their licence requirements will be investigated by the Commission and we will not hesitate to issue fines if requirements are breached