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Betting operators dismiss children's data claims as 'completely untrue'

Claims that betting companies have been given access to data containing the names, ages and addresses of children and students have been dismissed as "completely untrue".

The Sunday Times claimed operators were using the information from the Learning Records Service in order to "help increase the proportion of young people who gamble online".

The newspaper said that data intelligence company GB Group had a contract through another company to access the Learning Records Service for age and identity services it provides to clients including gambling operators.

The Department for Education was said to have disabled the database and referred the case to the Information Commissioner's Office.

However, gambling industry trade body the Betting and Gaming Council said the only information provided by GB Group was to do with age verification.

"Media reports that betting companies have access to the Learning Records Service database are untrue," the BGC said.

"GB Group provides age verification services to a range of organisations from banks to government agencies and betting companies.

"All betting companies are legally required to verify the age of people who wish to join to ensure that they are over the age of 18, the only information GB Group provides is confirmation or rejection that the applicant is over the age of 18."

Betfair were mentioned as one of the companies who had access to the database, something denied by the operator's parent company Flutter Entertainment.

A statement from Flutter said: "The claims made in the Sunday Times that Betfair has used GB Group's data to target underage customers are completely untrue.

"In fact the reverse is true, we use the company solely for age and identity verification services in order to ensure that no customer can open an account without confirming they are over 18."

32Red were also mentioned in the report, and a spokesperson for the company described the allegations that they had access to the database as "untrue and unfounded".

They added: "The only information 32Red has access to is confirmation or rejection that the person requesting to open an account with us is over the age of 18, and not specific details about that person."

The story was the latest in a wave of negative reporting about the sector since the turn of the year.

The 32Red spokesperson added: "While we understand there is heightened scrutiny on the gambling sector at present, it is vital that reporting remains accurate and based on evidence and facts."

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Bill BarberIndustry editor

Published on 20 January 2020inNews

Last updated 18:59, 20 January 2020