A high-profile UK betting operator is under fire after reports in the UK press revealed that they accepted thousands of pounds from a gambler who had been made redundant.
According to a report in the Guardian, MansionBet accepted a redundancy pay-out as proof that the customer could afford to make numerous bets, and then awarded him perks as a VIP customer. These included several free bets and even football tickets.
The report indicates that the customer had 26 calls with a VIP manager, during which he asked for free bets and requested the cancellation of withdrawals that he had earlier made from his account. According to UK Gambling Commission guidelines, these are signs of potential gambling addiction.
It is also reported that the punter sent MansionBet a copy of his redundancy settlement from a previous employer, and asked the operator for free bets, promising to deposit significant amounts funded by the redundancy pay-out. According to the Gambling Commission, operators are advised to be cautious about accepting funds under these circumstances. Quoted in the report, a spokesperson for the UKGC underlined the importance of operators behaving responsibly:
“While we can’t comment on individual cases, we are absolutely committed to reducing gambling harms and we expect operators to step in and prevent harm when a customer’s behaviour indicates they are at risk. Given repeated failings with ‘VIP’ practices in the industry, we will also shortly be consulting on additional requirements in this area.”
The report is likely to add to the pressure on the UKGC to take more vigorous action. The regulator has commissioned a review of the VIP scheme practice, although that was itself the subject of criticism from politicians, as it is being led by GVC, a gambling operator that has been penalised for VIP failings. An interim report from the review group suggested a number of measures including limiting VIP offers to over-25s, but that may not be sufficient to allay politicians’ concerns.