Ladbrokes Faces Probe After Gambling Addicts’ Details Found in Garbage Bag

Posted on: June 28, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: June 28, 2017, 11:52h.

British bookmaker Ladbrokes was left red-faced this week after documents containing names, addresses and photographs of self-excluded gambling addicts were found dumped in a garbage bag outside a betting shop.

 Ladbrokes data protection violation
Gambling charities are concerned that the Ladbrokes incident may discouraging problem gamblers from using the MOSES self-exclusion scheme. (Image: Phil Shirley)

The highly sensitive information was found by a passerby outside a Ladbrokes branch in a busy Glasgow street, opposite the Scottish city’s main railway station.    

The UK’s Multi-operator Self-exclusion Scheme (MOSES) allows problem gamblers to ban themselves from placing bets at multiple bookmakers at once and is necessarily highly confidential.

It’s feared an incident such as this may discourage vulnerable people from signing up.

Data Protection Breach

The UK Gambling Commission told the Guardian that it was looking into how the information came to dumped in the street and whether the company had broken data protection laws.

MOSES organizers assure gamblers that their personal information is destroyed according to data-protection laws after a certain amount of time.

“Your personal details are kept confidential and only shared with participating bookmakers, their companies and administrators,” it promises on its website.

“Customers trust that their personal data will be collected carefully and then protected properly,” said the Gambling Commission executive director, Tim Miller. “We expect gambling operators to adhere to all data protection laws or regulations, which are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). In an instance where personal data has been breached, we would expect operators to do whatever they can to mitigate any harm caused.”

Holy Moses!

MOSES is managed by the Senet Group, an independent body that promotes socially responsible gambling, established in 2014 by the UK’s four major bookmakers, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.

While all bookmakers have their own individual self-exclusion schemes, MOSES aims to be industry wide, so customers who ban themselves from one bookie are banned simultaneously from all participating bookmakers.

Gamblers who sign up to the program automatically exclude themselves for a year and the ban cannot be reversed during that period. After the first 12 months it, will remain in place for a further six, unless the customer requests otherwise.

“We really hope this situation does not put anyone off using self-exclusion, as research we published in March found that 83 percent of those who have used it found the scheme to be effective, although we would always recommend professional treatment alongside such measures,” Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, told the Guardian.

Ladbrokes has said it is taking the matter extremely seriously and has launched a full internal inquiry.