Playtech’s PT Entertainment Services (PTES) arm surrendered its GB B2C licence, after a customer’s suicide led to the Gambling Commission uncovering serious failings within the business such as a lack of problem gambling safeguards for new customers and VIPs.
The death of the PTES customer who had lost more than £100,000 in the days leading up to his death in April 2017 prompted the Commission’s investigation into PTES, which operates the Winner and Titanbet brands, and held a remote bingo, casino and betting licence at the time. It is understood that the operator opted to give up its licence in 2019 with Winner announcing in May that year that it was to close its doors.
“This is a tragic case which came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life,” Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said. “I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.”
The Commission’s investigation found “systemic failures” in PTES’s player protection and social responsibility safeguards. These social responsibility failings were highlighted through PTES’s interactions with the deceased customer, who opened a Winner account on 26 December, 2016, and a Titanbet account that same month. Despite two attempted deposits using a debit card being declined by the individual’s bank, they suceeded in depositing £18,700 on 26 and 27 December, far higher than the average deposit for the business.
On 28 December, after a £4,000 deposit was declined by their bank, PTES provided a free gift of an Apple Watch that day and offered the player membership to its VIP programme. The player told the operator that they were grateful, as no other sites had offered similar rewards despite their wagering “much more” with these unnamed sites.
On 29 December, an internal email flagging the customer’s net loss of £22,000, that they were 25 years old, and that PTES was unaware of their occupation was circulated. However, the Commission said, PTES gave no consideration to social responsibility or problem gambling checks, despite the player having had debit card payments declined, the operator being unaware of the individual’s occupation or financial state, and the fact that they had claimed to be gambling even more on other sites.
Instead, it emailed the customer inviting…