Rank fined £500,000 after visiting problem gambler overseas

GBR: Children Get Online Gambling Habit
The man lost over £1m in just 24 hours (Source: Getty)

Online gambling firm Rank will pay £500,000 after failing a problem gambler by visiting him overseas when he had asked the company to leave him alone.

The Gambling Commission found Rank had failed to recognise a customer showing “problematic behaviour”, broke credit rules and contacted him at his home during a self-exclusion period.

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In 2016 the man asked Rank subsidiary Grosvenor Casinos to block his account for at least six months.

But a general manager from the company visited him at his home address overseas.

The manager asked Rank to re-open the man’s account. The request was refused.

The man’s behaviour escalated rapidly in 2017 when he opened an online account with Grosvenor Casinos.

At one point he lost over £1m in just 24 hours.

The commission praised Rank for reporting its own failures and being transparent during the investigation, saying it could have been fined much more.

Around one per cent of people in Britain identify as problem gamblers, with men over six times more vulnerable, data from the Gambling Commission shows.

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It can break down relationships, cause health issues and put people in debt. In serious cases problem gamblers turn to crime, or die by suicide.

The fine will be used to analyse data from high value customers - a poorly understood group - to spot harmful gambling.

A spokesperson for Rank said: “We accept that our responsible gambling processes and controls were insufficient regarding this isolated case concerning a high value customer.

"Since this incident, we have worked hard to improve our processes and controls to avoid such a scenario reoccurring.”

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