888: Impact of UK gambling white paper taken into consideration

888 Holdings
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888 has stated that the possible impact of the UK Government’s upcoming gambling white paper has already been taken into consideration in the group’s figures ahead of its release.

Speaking during 888’s recent earnings call following their 2022 financial results, Executive Chair Lord Mendelsohn noted that the group doesn’t think the white paper will be a “significant departure” from their current numbers but added that they have already taken additional steps to have an “effective response” to the safer gambling measures expected.

The UK gambling industry is still waiting for the publication of the government white paper concerning the two-year review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

When released, it is expected to significantly change how the UK gambling industry is regulated, taking into account the rise of online play.

During the Q&A section of the earnings call, 888 was asked if the upcoming white paper would have an impact on their numbers, to which Mendelsohn replied that the group believes most of the white paper’s impacts have already been taken into consideration.

The Executive Chair commented: “We believe that much of the impacts of the white paper are baked into our figures, but we’ll wait to see what the full details are of all of it. We don’t think this will be a significant departure from our numbers. 

“Certainly, the additional steps that we’ve taken to make sure that we have an effective response on safer gambling put us in a position where we believe that it’s largely factored in.”

In January, 888 reported safer gambling policy failures in relation to Middle East VIP customers. Mendelsohn stated in the group’s 2022 report that the failure was “isolated to a very specific cohort of players” and that he is “highly confident” that the policies and procedures are robust.

Two months later in March, William Hill was fined £19m by the UK Gambling Commission in relation to historic player safety failings before 888 owned the operation. 888 noted that it shares the UKGC’s commitment to improving compliance standards across the industry.

Later on the earnings call, 888 was asked about the proactive measures the group has taken in the UK to comply with the new regulations expected in the upcoming white paper. 

Mendelsohn highlighted the changes made to protect customers, including reducing 30-day net deposit limits and third-party vulnerability checks.

“What we’ve done is we’ve rebuilt the entire team, and we’ve built processes, we’ve enhanced the whole risk approach, but we have done a number of measures about protecting customers from rapid losses on reducing 30-day net deposit limits, on implementing third-party vulnerability checks and other hard stops pending assessments of safer gambling and anti-money laundering stuff. We’ve done more to introduce protection of customers in retail and reduce the spending triggers there.

“We’ve also looked at additional training for our retail colleagues, which they’ve done extremely well on adopting, and we’ve got a more coordinated approach to monitoring those things, and we’ve enhanced our AML processes. We’ve expanded the customer due diligence team and we’ve increased further hard stops. We’ve strengthened the AML training and policies, and we improved arrangements in governance and the regulatory assurance function.

Mendelsohn continued: “We’ve got a pretty comprehensive range of things that we’ve done to make sure that in the UK, and indeed across the business in all jurisdictions, we’re doing as much as we can to ensure that we’ve got the highest possible standards and the safest possible experience for our customers.

“I do feel that we’ve got to the position where a lot of the overhang that we had from those sorts of issues has now been lifted and that we’ve got an effective team and a full suite of measures which have been implemented.”