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Paddy Power fined after push notifications sent to people self-excluding from gambling

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The bookmaker Paddy Power sent a promotional push notification to customers who had signed up to exclude themselves from gambling, inviting them to bet on a football match.The Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry, said PPB Counterparty Services, trading as Paddy Power and Betfair, would pay £490,000 for breaching social responsibility rules.The fine relates to material sent to customers who had signed up to Gamstop, a nationwide scheme that gamblers can use to voluntarily block themselves from betting sites, often in response to concerns they may be addicted.Gambling operators are supposed to remove anyone who signs up to Gamstop from their marketing databases within two days, under the conditions of British gambling licences.But on 21 November 2021, due to “human error”, self-excluded Paddy Power customers with an Apple device were sent a notification advertising the opportunity to bet on Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United.

The Gambling Commission did not say how many people received the message.Paddy Power Betfair, owned by global gambling operator Flutter, is the latest in a string of operators to pay a penalty this year for failing to act in a socially responsible way.Previous penalties include a record £19.2m fine meted out to William Hill for “widespread and alarming” failures, including allowing customers to lose tens of thousands of pounds within minutes of opening an account.The litany of failings has emerged despite increased scrutiny on the £10bn-a-year sector, as the government drew up proposals for tighter regulation.The resulting white paper, published last month, generally envisages a crackdown on online gambling, including tougher affordability checks and limits on online slot machine stakes.

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