In March 2019 the regulator began an investigation after being contacted by the family of a man who tragically took his own life in April 2017 aged 25. Although PTES surrendered its license during the investigation the Commission decided that it was in the public interest to complete the investigation and publish its findings.
The Commission’s investigation identified serious systemic failings in the way PTES managed its social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes. In relation to the young man in question, the Commission concluded that the operator failed to carry out any responsible gambling customer interactions even though it was aware that several of his debit card transactions had been declined. PTES also provided him with VIP status without verifying that he could afford to spend the amounts of money he was playing with – all of which are serious and unacceptable failings.
The investigation also revealed more general failings in the way PTES interacted with its highest spending customers. If the license had not been surrendered the Commission would have imposed a financial penalty of £3.5 million and considered whether other sanctions were appropriate. The Commission is continuing to investigate the role played by key individuals at PTES who still hold personal licenses and will take any appropriate action following completion of further investigations.
Neil McArthur, the Commission’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a tragic case which came to light after I was contacted by the family of the young man who very sadly took his own life. I want to thank them for their bravery in bringing his case to our attention and we are grateful for the way they have worked with us in such terrible circumstances so that we could understand what happened.”
“Although PTES has ceased trading we decided to complete our investigation and publish our findings, as the lessons from this tragic case must be learned by all operators.’
“Our investigations into the role played by key individuals at PTES are continuing. As such, it would be inappropriate to say more about the specific case at this time.
“This case – like so many others we have seen – illustrates why the management of so-called ‘high value customers’ has to change. Operators must do everything in their power to interact with customers responsibly. We will shortly be opening a consultation to make permanent changes to the way operators recruit and incentivise high value customers.’’