888 Hit with $10 Million Fine for Failing to Protect Problem Gamblers
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) hit 888 Holdings, Inc. with a whopping $10 million fine for failing to adequately protect problem gamblers against their own, self-destructive behavior. The fine comes after months of investigation and could have resulted in the ultimate penalty; a suspension of the company’s UK gambling license.
888′s troubles started last year when a glitch in the company’s software allowed self-identified problem gamblers to continue depositing money with the Gibraltar-based operator. This problem went on for more than a year, during which time at least 7,000 problem gamblers deposited at least $3.5 million in deposits.
Operators such as 888 are held to pretty high standards when it comes to protecting problem gamblers and the UKGC say 888 seriously dropped the ball when it came to this aspect of the business. After the investigation, the UKGC reported that the company failed to spot any of the warning signs that problem gamblers were using their site. They pointed out that one of the effected players stole $55,000 from his employer in order to keep playing. Another player played over a million dollars during that same period.
While 888 couldn’t have been happy about the size of the fine the company and its investors know that the situation could have been a lot worse. There was a very real possibility that 888 Holdings could have lost its UK gambling license entirely.
In that regard, the multi-million dollar fine was actually a bit of good news and the market reacted accordingly. When news of the fine broke, shares in 888 Holdings rose in value by almost six percent. As one analyst pointed out on Bloomberg.com, the fine is actually good news to investors because it, “…removes uncertainty.”
Company officials say that they accept the fine and are ready to move forward from the incident.