Sky Bet Boss Calls for Action Against Problem Gambling

Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint has outlined his vision for a better betting industry at the ICE Totally Gaming expo in London.

Sky Bet Richard Flint

Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint calls on peers to do more when tackling problem gambling in the UK. (Image: senetgroup.org.uk)

Speaking on the first day of the conference, Flint suggested that industry members at all levels were failing to tackle the issue of problem gambling. Taking a hard-line stance, the Sky Bet boss claimed that everyone was responsible for solving an issue that has become the subject of public scrutiny over the last 12 months.

“In order to do this the industry must first of all recognise it has an issue. And I don’t just mean a PR or reputational issue. I mean a genuine, evidence-based subject that it must play its part in addressing,” Flint told attendees on January 6.

Everyone Needs to Improve

Acknowledging his own company’s shortcomings, Flint cited areas in which he believes improvements can be made. Data collection and analysis would form the core of his four-part plan.

With more account information available to operators than ever before, the senior executive said that spotting trends should become a standard practice. From this, Flint said that more self-help tools should be made available to customers.

The first two points raised tally with the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) recent pressure on operators. In August 2017, the UKGC hit 888 with a record fine for failing to protect vulnerable customers.

Following a lengthy investigation, the UKGC found the over 7,000 players that had tried to self-exclude themselves were allowed to bet on 888’s network due to a technical glitch. Additionally, the report found that instances of problem gambling weren’t addressed with regards to certain customers.

Pressure On Operators

After accepting the findings, 888 agreed to pay more than £7.8 million in fines. As part of Flint’s plan, these sorts of incidents would not only be less damaging to customers, but operators who run the risk of being fined.

As well as a more proactive approach to customer safety by operators, Sky Bet’s chief executive called for a standardised system of fines as well as greater powers for industry mediators such as IBAS.

“These measures, together with the establishment and successful operation of GamStop – the one-stop shop for self-exclusion – will provide a fair and consistent approach from all operators to those who may develop problems with their gambling,” Flint said.   

Although the four-point plan isn’t binding, Flint hopes to work with the UKGC and other operators to turn some of his suggestions into a reality. With the government currently reviewing the state of industry assets such as foxed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), it seems that now is the time for those in power to take more responsibility for their services.

Share Now: