PTES’ Systematic Failures Sees Company Closed

An investigation into systematic player protection failures at PT Entertainment Services by the UK Gambling Commission has led to the company’s closure.

An investigation into PTES, which used to trade as www.winner.co.uk and titanbet.co.uk, came after an individual’s family who tragically took his own life in April 2017 at the age of 25 had contacted the UKGC.

Although during the investigation PTES surrendered its licence, the Commission agreed to complete and report its findings, citing public interest.

Investigation by the Commission is said to have identified “serious systemic failings” in the way PTES managed its processes of social responsibility and anti-money laundering.

In relation to the person in question, the UKGC found that the operator did not conduct any reasonable interactions with the gambling customer even though it was informed that some of its debit card transactions had been rejected.

PTES is also said to have given VIP status without testing affordability, which the regulator says is  “serious and unacceptable failings.”

Other general flaws in the way PTES dealt with its highest paying customers were also exposed in the investigation.

Between May 2015 and September 2017, the deficiencies in the social responsibility policies and procedures of PTES came. The company had 240,126 active customers during the 2016/2017 period, of which 633 (0.26 percent) were sent responsible gambling emails.

The UKGC stipulates, in its statement: “Prior to surrender of its operating licence, PTES made a number of financial settlement offers which the Commission regarded as seriously deficient. PTES proceeded to donate £619,395, the amount it proposed as a regulatory settlement offer on 30 October 2019, to charity in furtherance of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

“Playtech, its parent company, has also pledged to donate a total of £5m to mental health and gambling-related harm charities over the next five years as part of its strategy to promote better online health.”

Had the licence not been revoked, the Commission indicated that an acceptable course of action would have been a financial penalty of at least £ 3.5 m. Investigations are continuing into the role played by “key individuals” who still hold personal licences.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Commission stated: “This is a tragic case which came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life. I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.

“Although PTES has ceased trading we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.

“Our investigations into the role played by key individuals at PTES are continuing. As such, it would be inappropriate to say more about the specific case at this time.

“This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high value customers.’’