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Ladbrokes face investigation over problem gambling data disposal

Ladbrokes self-exclusion data

The UK Gambling Commission may launch an investigation into Ladbrokes after confidential information regarding problem gamblers was found in an unusual place.

The UK-based bookmaker collects information on betting addicts, including names and addresses, as well as photos, when individuals sign up for the self-exclusion scheme, known as Moses (Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme).

Moses allows players to voluntarily block themselves from placing bets and bookmakers use the information provided to identify customers and comply with problem gambling policies.

Photos and additional information available through the Moses system, which is managed by the bookmaker-founded Senet Group, also allow staff to identify the self-excluded punters.

But this sensitive information was recently found in a bin by a member of the public. The bin was located outside a Ladbrokes office in Glasgow.

As a result, the Gambling Commission may conduct an investigation into why the data was disposed of and why it was not done so in a way which has the customer’s security at the forefront.
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While no bank account details or information regarding the gambler’s activity was included with the information, it still breaks customer’s trust.

Gambling Commission executive director, Tim Miller, said punters expect “that their personal data will be collected carefully and then protected properly.”

“We expect gambling operators to adhere to all data protection laws or regulations, which are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO),” he added.

“In an instance where personal data has been breached, we would expect operators to do whatever they can to mitigate any harm caused.”

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Ladbrokes works with the Moses tool, which says on its website: “Your personal details are kept confidential and only shared with the participating bookmakers their group companies and the central team administrators.”

The betting company is required to dispose of the data via a company-wide procedure, which is overseen by the Independent Betting Adjudication Service.

A spokesperson for Ladbrokes did not comment on how the information ended up in a bin bag which was on the street but said they would be conducting a full investigation.

“We are taking this extremely seriously,” the spokesperson said.

In response to the probe, the leading betting site for betting and gaming wrote to all of its shops to remind them about the appropriate procedures regarding data disposal.

Responsible gambling charity, GambleAware, is worried the incident will prevent punters from using the service.

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

“Self-exclusion is often a last resort for those already suffering from a gambling addiction and it’s important we identify those who are at risk as early as possible and prevent problems developing.”

Gamblers who notice they have a problem can opt to self-exclude themselves using Moses. They will be blocked from all participating bookmakers for a year – a choice which cannot be reversed until the 12 months is up.

The self-exclusion feature will then remain in place for a further six months until the individual requests to opt out.