A formal complaint over Sky Bet’s activities has been submitted to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by Clean Up Gambling. The anti-gambling campaign group has called for the ICO to start a probe into the operator’s methods to process data from its customers.
According to media reports, the country’s Information Commissioner’s Office has received the organisation’s complaint, which claims that Sky Bet is using its customer data to profile gambling addicts and exploit them.
The formal complaint has been made as a result of an investigation commissioned by Clean Up Gambling and completed by Creative Labs earlier in 2022. The research showed that data subjects were unaware of how the gambling company was processing their data. The probe revealed that with 37 visits to its online gambling platform, Sky Betting and Gaming sent the customer data it gathered to 44 digital surveillance companies in a total of 2,154 transmissions.
The investigation found that a vast majority of the aforementioned transmissions were received by Google, Facebook, Adobe, and Signal. At the time, the organisation’s director, Matt Zarb-Cousin, explained that such data should be used to enhance customer protection, not to take advantage of them.
Sky Bet Allegedly Uses Invasive Processing of Customer Data and Provides It to Third Parties to Exploit Users, Group Claims
In the formal complaint filed to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, Clean Up Gambling states that Sky Bet is using invasive processing operations, including recording customers’ activities on the gambling operator’s platform, storing such data, as well as using the customers’ email addresses to further profile them and their activity, and transmitting such data to third parties. Apart from that, the anti-gambling campaign group claims that Sky Bet does not provide its users with enough information on how their data is used in order for them to provide their consent. The data is also indefinitely stored.
Furthermore, Clean Up Gambling has made allegations that the gambling company’s information on cookies breaches regulation 6 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. The group claims that the violation occurred because there is no sufficient information on the cookies and customers are provided with the only option to accept Sky Bet’s request.
The parent company of Sky Betting and Gaming – Flutter Entertainment – responded to the Clean Up Gambling’s formal complaint via the Financial Times. The gambling giant noted that it really created customer profiles but it does not have access to the wider financial data of its users. Furthermore, the company also explained that the third-party entities that received its customer data were used for the provision of sponsored content on social media but it made sure that vulnerable users were not exposed to the advertising.
The formal complaint filed by the non-for-profit anti-gambling group is not the first time that Sky Bet is caught in violation by the competent authorities in the UK. As Casino Guardian reported in March, the major UK gambling regulatory body issued a massive £1.17-million fine to the gambling company over a breach in voluntary self-exclusions of 41,395 players and 249,159 who had requested not to receive marketing emails by the operator. At the time, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that Sky Bet violated provisions 3.5.3(2) and 5.1.11 of the Social Responsibility Code of Practice (SRCP).
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.