Following-on from our publications on 16.03 & 19.03 which stemmed from an issue around a self-excluded customer receiving a marketing email encouraging him to gamble, I would like to give my own personal snapshot into the investigations I undertook relating to my own gambling history.
Perhaps the most striking piece of material I uncovered was from my dealings with 32 Red. Yes, the same company that proudly promotes the once great footballer Wayne Rooney wearing a 32 on his back. The same Wayne Rooney that told us about his gambling issues and then teamed up with a gambling firm to pay his huge wages. Whilst my time with 32 Red was way back in 2012, seemingly rules didn’t appear to exist back then, or to define this a different way, they made the rules. After the usual pay-day disordered gambling binge I had, I sent the email to 32 Red and blocked out the world. However, and I must point out that at the time I was none-the-wiser, 32 Red sent me a marketing text a week later and offered me a free £50 credit. So of course, I gladly accepted and went on to lose another £750 on the back of it. Thinking to myself that this is the clearest sign of negligence you can get, I wrote to them in 2018 and asked for my money back as some form of acceptance they did wrong.
However, they pointed out to me, very proudly, that because I didn’t log into their account and complete their self-exclusion form, they could not be held to account. Oh, so again, it’s my fault! What I tried to say to them, both at the time and in 2018, was that the very last thing I wanted to do was log into their site, for obvious reasons. Whilst this is some time ago, (and before we hear the usual statements about how things have changed), let’s not forget that this was their response to me just two years ago, not long before Rooney was parading around with his 32 Red attire on and teaming up with an ex-footballer to suggest how good 32 Red are at promoting ‘safer gambling’. The problem that the industry faces and I’ve seen this in abundance, is that they aren’t prepared to face-up to their legacy. Until they do, the legacy evidence will always cloud any progress they may wish to shout about.
Whilst the actions of 32 Red in 2012 (and their rebuttals in 2018) may no longer take place today, clearly with the CV19 virus forcing people into isolation, there is clearly an indication that some affiliates and parts of the industry and going full steam ahead with enticing customers over to some harmful virtual products online. We again urge the Betting and Gaming Council and The Gambling Commission to act immediately in dealing with poor White Label and poor affiliates that are targeting the vulnerable. Should we continue to be ignored we will engage with the government directly to bring this matter the attention it deserves and with the immediacy it requires. We are not prepared to see vulnerable people targeted by poor practices.