Australian Bookmaker Under Media Fire over Self-Exclusion Failures
Australian bookmaker PlayUp was discovered to have allowed customers who had asked to be barred from gambling to place bets, Guardian Australia reports.
The sports betting operator is licensed in the Northern Territory where the code of conduct for providing wagering services lists self-exclusion as one of the rights Australian punters are entitled to.
PlayUp’s CEO, Daniel Simic, told Guardian Australia that up until recently it was possible for his company to unintentionally service self-excluded gamblers because the operator held several licenses that were managed as separate businesses and were not allowed to share data about gambling customers with each other. As of November, the separate operations had been combined into a single business.
Mr. Simic said that the recent findings about self-excluded gamblers being allowed to place wagers with their brands would not breach their license.
A Rough Start
PlayUp was originally planned to operate as a sports betting technology provider. Upon its inception, it received backing from a group of wealthy investors, including Alex Turnbull, the son of former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
PlayUp burnt A$100 million that investors ploughed into it and was put into liquidation in 2016. In 2017, Mr. Simic bought the company’s assets, including the PlayUp brand. Under its new owners, the company made an unsuccessful attempt to float. Its flotation effort was canceled by the ASX, which raised concerns about the bookmaker’s listing suitability.
After Mr. Simic took over as CEO of the company, it purchased several other betting operators, including Classicbet, Bet Bet, Madbookie, and TopBetta. As mentioned earlier, those were initially run as separate businesses until their consolidation last month. Mr. Simic said that all brands are now operating as one and are managed by one team.
Self-Excluded Gamblers Were Allowed to Wager Money
Guardian Australia reports that in August, PlayUp’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Parramore, told other company executives, including its CEO, that the issue of punters who had self-excluded from gambling with one of their brands continuing to gamble with another needed to be addressed “ASAP” as PlayUp was combining its operations onto a single platform.
Asked to comment on this, Mr. Simic explained that it “would have been possible” for bettors to place wagers on one platform while excluded from another, if their personal information on the platforms did not match.
The executive went on that they had no way of knowing “who’s who if wrong data has been entered” and that he knew of one incident of a self-excluded customer gambling with another PlayUp-owned brand. That incident has been settled, Mr. Simic pointed out.
He said that his company has not “actually technically done anything wrong” and that each of their licenses “has got its own list and we’re not supposed to be sharing data [between them] anyway.”
Self-exclusion was a key measure within Australia’s first National Consumer Protection Framework for online sports betting that was introduced last month.
In November, Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher proposed the creation of an online National Self-Exclusion Register that would allow people to ban themselves from all licensed online sports betting sits and apps “in one go.”
Under the register, sports betting operators will be prohibited from directly advertising and promoting their products and services to all customers that are registered for self-exclusion.
Gamblers will be able to exclude themselves from betting for a period of at least three months or even permanently through a simple process.
Source: Bookmaker PlayUp offered bets to clients who self-excluded over gambling problems, The Guardian
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