Investigation Shows that Excluded Players Were Still Allowed to Bet at Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfred and Coral
Worried about the dangerous flaws in the Moses exclusion scheme, Jack Dyson, a reporter for KentOnline went on an undercover investigation. He made sure to ban himself from 15 betting shops in Whitstable, Canterbury and Herne Bay, and investigated the effectiveness of the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. After having his photo circulated and registered in the industry-wide Moses system, he was still able to place a bet in every betting shop run by major names in the industry, Coral, Paddy Power, Betfred and William Hill.
Even though each bookmaker was sent a photo of Dyson, which was then added to an exclusion list to be monitored by the staff, he still managed to place a wager six week after the registration was confirmed. He placed £5 bet on the Champions League final in all 15 shops, and only 9 of them asked to see his ID and check his face or age. They all failed to notice that the guy’s photo and personal details had been recently added to the excluded customers database.
As Dyson explained, his friend had told him that the Moses scheme wasn’t working adequately and wasn’t being policed appropriately by the betting shop staff, so he decided to put it to a test. He registered with the scheme sending them a copy of his passport and the list of bookmakers he wanted to be excluded from. He wrote down 15 betting shops and went on his undercover mission.
Soon after he entered the first shop, the staff immediately asked for his ID, and even though he thought ‘That’s it, I’m caught red-handed’, they actually did not recognize him. He continued his quest and eventually managed to place a bet at all of them.
Statements by the Authorities
Stating that he was appalled by the investigation and has questioned the credibility of the exclusion scheme, the MP Roger Gale was one of the many to comment. He said that the whole objective of Moses was to protect people who recognize that they need protection. He said that the scheme must work properly, otherwise, it does not have credibility. GambleAware’s CEO Marc Etches said that the findings were worrying and that self-exclusion could be the last resort for those who needed to stop gambling, and the fact that they were still able to gamble was concerning.
The UK Gambling Commission confirmed they would be making enquiries to gather more information about what happened in Dyson’s case. Even the major bookmakers Betfred, William Hill and Coral had launched their own internal enquiry into the findings, while Paddy Power had still not responded to the accusations.
Moses’ CEO Sarah Hanratty said that the current scheme relies on staff’s ability to identify excluded individuals. And even though human error is susceptible, the scheme with future digital solutions will greatly improve the reliability of the service.