Camelot hit with £3m Gambling Commission fine for three mobile app failures
The Gambling Commission has imposed a £3.15m fine on UK National Lottery operator Camelot for a series of failures which negatively impacted mobile app customers.
The first failure saw the operator’s mobile app mistakenly inform up to 20,000 players that their winning draw-based tickets were non-winning tickets. This error occurred when tickets were scanned with the app’s QR scanner between November 2016 and September 2020.
Camelot subsequently disabled the QR scanner and estimated that customers were negatively impacted between £48,000 and £68,000, although it was unable to ratify this figure.
The second breach, which occurred in October 2020, saw 22,210 players who purchased a single draw-based ticket through the app charged for and receive two tickets by mistake.
All impacted players were identified and refunded for the duplicated wager, while other duplicate wager winners were honoured.
Finally, the operator sent out mobile push notifications to app users who had either self-excluded via GAMSTOP or had been identified as showing signs of gambling-related harm.
The regulator said 65,400 of these players received marketing messages between February 2018 and January 2021, although none were permitted by the app to actually purchase a National Lottery product.
The full decision and case notes can be accessed here.
Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “We are reassured that Camelot has taken steps to make sure that their National Lottery app is fit for purpose. However, we must caution Camelot that any failings on their duties will be met with consequences.
“Today’s announcement reinforces that any operator failing to comply with their licence requirements will be investigated by the Commission and we will not hesitate to issue fines if requirements are breached,” he added.
It has been a bad month for Camelot. The fine was issued a matter of days after the Gambling Commission recommended Allwyn as its preferred bidder for the National Lottery contract.
Camelot has been the incumbent provider ever since 1994 and wanted to maintain its hold on the competition, but now looks set to lose the tender licence when its current deal expires in 2024.
Camelot has been criticised by many gambling industry stakeholders over the last few years, including British MP Scott Benton, who is chair of the Parliamentary All-Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG).
Benton suggested that Camelot appeared to be disproportionately focused on selling instant win games, which carry a higher risk of gambling-related harm and return a smaller proportion of revenue to charitable good causes than draw-based lottery games.
The £3.15m fine will be paid by the current National Lottery operator towards good causes.