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Investigation of failures in player protection at PTES

The Gambling Commission published the findings of an investigation into PT Entertainment Services (PTES) who used to trade as winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk. The investigation uncovered systemic failures in player protection.

In March 2019 the regulator started an investigation after being contacted by the family of a man who tragically took his own life in April 2017 aged 25.

Despite PTES surrendering its licence during the investigation, the Commission decided that it was in the public's best interest to complete the investigation and publish its findings. The investigation identified serious systemic failings in the way that PTES managed its social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes.

The Commission found that the operator failed to carry out any reasonable gambling customer interactions with the young man, despite being aware that several of his card transactions had been declined. PTES also provided him with VIP status without verifying that he could afford to spend the amount of money he was playing with. All of which are serious and unacceptable failings.

The investigation found other general failings in the way PTES interacted with it's highest spending customers. If the licence had not been surrendered, the Commission would have imposed a financial penalty of £3.5million and would have considered if other sanctions were appropriate.

The Commission is continuing to investigate the role played by key individuals at PTES who still hold personal licences, and will take any appropriate action following completion of further investigations.

Neil McArthur, the Commission’s Chief Executive, said: “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. 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.”

“Although PTES has ceased trading we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.

“Our investigations into the role played by key individuals at PTES are continuing. As such, it would be inappropriate to say more about the specific case at this time.

“This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high value customers.’’

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