Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) has denied that it has been spying on punters using cookies and social media in an effort to determine their likely income.
The oddsmaker made the denial a day after an unnamed source in PBB told The Irish Times that traders who operated on risk-management teams of the Irish bookmaker often carried out background checks on social media and looked at people’s homes on Google Maps in an effort to determine their likely income.
The report has put a controversial software tracker sold by Iovation into spotlight as it is used to clandestinely gather information about a customer in order to build a profile that will determine how they will be treated.
“Like many other bookmakers we use Iovation to tackle fraudulent activity, breaches of our terms and conditions and for responsible gambling purposes,” a PPB spokesman said. “We consider the use of Iovation to be strictly necessary in order for us to fulfil our legal and regulatory requirements around security, prevention of fraud and anti-money laundering, so it complies with data protection guidelines in both Ireland and the UK.”
Meanwhile, Brian Chappell, founder of the campaign group Justice4Punters, told the Irish news agency that the tracker sold by Iovation is legal but bookmakers do not provide a clear explanation of its use and put it on computers without expressed consent.
If found that they do not make it clear to customers how information was gathered and used, PBB may be considered in breach of privacy laws.
“It is a standard practice across the bookmakers. The best way to think about it is a jigsaw where every piece of information obtained is like a piece to give a full picture,” Mr Chappell said. “This information is then used to restrict and close accounts, but there are other implications. This information could be used to stop problem gambling.”