UK-listed gambling operator Playtech has dug deeper into its wallet to demonstrate its remorse over the suicide of a young man at its customer-facing gaming sites.
Playtech announced that it was boosting its donations to responsible gambling charities to £3.5m. The move follows Wednesday’s release of a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) investigation into the suicide of a former customer of Playtech subsidiary PT Entertainment Services (PTES) and its B2C sites Titanbet.co.uk and Winner.co.uk.
The UKGC probe discovered that 25-year-old Chris Bruney took his own life in April 2017 following a five-day gambling spree in which he lost over £119k. During this period, PTES’ VIP managers sent Bruney numerous bonuses, including a final £500 bonus just hours after Bruney was dead.
The UKGC slammed PTES for “serious systemic failings” in PTES’ social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) processes, as well as “more general failings” in its interactions with VIP customers. PTES cooperated with the UKGC’s probe but ultimately chose to relinquish the UK licenses for its Titanbet and Winner sites.
Playtech’s interim chair Clair Milne said Thursday that she would personally apologize to Bruney’s family. Milne added that the failings cited in the UKGC probe “do not reflect where Playtech stands today” and the company hopes the topped-up donation will send a message to both investors and the wider gaming industry “of who we are today and aspire to be.”
This spring, Playtech was one of four companies included in the ‘working groups’ tasked with assisting the UKGC in reducing the potential for gambling harm. Given its status as a top game developer, Playtech’s role was to help develop a sector-wide policy for game design that ensured players wouldn’t be taken advantage of.
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