By Gavin Mackintosh-
The Rank group must identify the manager who cost them a fine of £500,000 by the UK Gambling Commission.
The Gambling Commission took the decision to fine the Rank Group after it breached three sections of its social responsibility code. The licensing conditions of the Rank Group states that ”in circumstances where remote gambling operators choose to offer credit to customers, such operators must set out to the customer the terms and conditions associated with that credit”.
However, despite the fact that Rank’s policy is forbidden from offering credit to digital customers. In this case, the company agreed to grant the customer a credit facility allowing him to draw down funds prior to the completion of banking transfers.
The Rank Group put arrangements in place to monitor credit and repayment, but those arrangements were not formalized for a period of six weeks. This time lapse was reckless and led to an escalation in the customer’s online spending . The Gambling commission noted the customer’s online spending rose dramatically.
The customer decided to self-exclude from Rank’s gambling operations by informing the Rank Group that he had decided to stop gambling for a minimum period of six months. Rank Group agreed to take reasonable steps to prevent him from gambling during that period. However, during this period of self-exclusion, a serious level of misconduct occurred. A Rank general manager visited the customer at his home overseas as part of a “keep in contact” networking visit. During that visit, the general manager requested that the customer be re-instated. The manager’s decision was unprofessional and corrupt.
The unnamed manager was the cause of the huge fine imposed on the Rank Group, but his identity was withheld from public releases of the Rank Group’s infringement and fine. The Eye Of Media.Com has requested for his identity to be disclosed because of the level of misconduct in this case. There does not appear to be a good reason for withholding his decision. There is a public interest in identifying him because the unnamed manager has demonstrated a serious level of misconduct which could be extended if they were to work in another gambling organisation.
We also want to know what actions were taken against the manager in question.Far too often, individuals who are guilty of professional misconduct are kept secret, whilst the organisation takes the rap for their offence. This is wrong and unprofessional. The public deserve to know that organisations take correct steps to identify serious offenders within their team. It becomes unfair when members of the public who commit offences are exposed, only for powerful individuals to be protected when they commit serious levels of misconduct.
The Gambling Commission’s finding that Rank Group failed in many respects should not be undermined. They failed to recognize signs of problematic gambling behaviour, including escalated spending and high speed of play, repeated requests for credit increases and bonuses, overt signs of frustration, and periods of self-exclusion.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, stated that the Commission “expect[s] all operators to protect any consumer who may be experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.”
The Gambling Commission concluded that the Rank Group should have adopted a holistic approach towards identifying problematic behaviour, rather than focusing on assertions that the customer was “comfortable with his level of spend,” speaks for itself. In a separate investigation by this publication, The Rank Group has been found to preside over discriminatory practices which is being examined closely by by other organisations and legal experts.
The Gambling Commission itself has also been confronted by this publication for having no anti discrimination policies, meaning that it allows discrimination to potentially occur without any regulation. That too is under close scrutiny. Rank Group also agreed to provide an anonymized data set to GambleAware for research purposes; terminated its relationship with the customer (making an agreed divestment); and has agreed to pay a further £5,000 towards the Commission’s investigative costs.