Following the public statement made by the Gambling Commission (‘the Commission’) related to their investigation between May 2015 and September 2017 into PT Entertainment Services Limited (‘PTES’), a subsidiary of Playtech, the Board of Playtech, led by new Interim Chairman Claire Milne, has undertaken a review of the Group’s position.
The Board of Playtech takes full responsibility and apologises for the regulatory breaches identified by the Gambling Commission regarding anti-money laundering and social responsibility. The regulatory breaches identified in PTES between 2015 and 2017 were not reflective of the high standards the Playtech Group set itself at the time and not representative of the high standards the Group delivers to its B2B partners today.
The Board extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Chris Bruney following the tragic event of his death. Claire Milne will be contacting the family to apologise personally for the regulatory breaches and to offer her condolences on behalf of the Board and everyone at Playtech.
As reported by the Gambling Commission, £619,395 has already been donated in recognition of PTES’ regulatory breaches to charities that are dedicated to reducing gambling related harm as well as supporting education and treatment. Following the review led by Claire Milne, who was previously Chairman of the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, the Board has collectively taken the decision to increase the amount to £3.5 million. This matches the figure that the Commission deemed appropriate had Playtech not taken action to close the PTES business, a decision which was made prior to the commencement of the Gambling Commission’s investigation as part of a strategic decision to focus the Group’s efforts on B2B activities in the U.K.
To further demonstrate Playtech’s commitment to raising industry standards and safer gambling the Board has decided to offer this further sum in support of the important work being undertaken by the Gambling Commission and other campaign groups in this area.
Following the review, the Board would also like to assure all stakeholders that decisive action was taken to address the breaches in PTES ahead of its closure in 2019. This was done to ensure that the Group took steps to ensure that similar regulatory breaches would not occur again and included key management and personal management licence holders leaving the business and PTES being brought under the Group compliance function in a restructuring of processes and oversight.
Claire Milne, Interim Chairman of Playtech, said:
“The findings of this investigation do not reflect where Playtech stands today. But while the company has made many positive and important changes, we feel it is only right for us to recognise these historic failings by offering this increased amount. In speaking with many of our stakeholders, it was clear they felt the failings were not representative of the Playtech they know. Through this action, we want to send a message to them and the wider industry of who we are today and aspire to be.
“Raising industry standards on safer gambling and being a leader in responsible business is central to our strategy as a technology partner. In my new role as Interim Chairman, I am fully committed to this continuing to be a key focus of ours going forward.”
In addition to the increased amount of £3.5 million, Playtech has committed £5m to five key areas to promote better understanding of ‘healthy online living’ and the relationship between mental health and online gambling.
As a technology and B2B specialist, Playtech has placed the development of safer products, data analytics and player engagement solutions at the centre of its strategy by partnering with operators, charities, and academics to raise standards in the industry. Some of the actions that we have taken include but are not limited to:
- Strategic acquisition and integration of BetBuddy, a world-class analytics platform, which helps licensees identify and manage at-risk gambling behavioural patterns
- Making safer gambling technology and tools accessible and affordable for our licensees and breaking down barriers to adoption
- Investing in advanced safer gambling player engagement and messaging tools for our licensees
- Investing in safer game and product design and helping to lead industry efforts on developing an industry Code of Conduct
- Participated in the development of and are a signatory to the industry safer gambling commitments
- Continuing our investment in research, education, and training programmes to reduce gambling related harm
- Committing £5m to deliver healthy online living initiatives to advance and support mental health, safer gambling, and digital resilience.
Mor Weizer, CEO Playtech said:
“We take full responsibility for these regulatory breaches. As a technology specialist, Playtech focuses on harnessing its capabilities in data-driven intelligence to place consumer protection at the centre of every stage of the player experience from game design to real-time engagement and messaging. In recent years, we have invested significantly to seek to ensure that these types of breaches do not happen again, including addressing the specific issues raised by the Commission.”