Most alarming, Mr. Naik said, was how software appeared to offer suggestions to lure back Gregg after he stopped gambling in late 2018. In the data profile that listed Gregg as a customer to “win back” were codes noting he was receptive to gambling promotions that featured Las Vegas. Having made more than 2,500 deposits on Sky Bet, he was listed as a “high value” customer.
“They had taken his addiction and turned it into code,” Mr. Naik said. “He’s high value because he’s willing to spend regular and high amounts even when it’s crippling him. They’re saying: Keep him coming back — he’s worth a lot more.”
Sky Bet and Flutter Entertainment declined to comment on the record earlier this month after being sent a series of detailed questions for this article. But after the article was published on Wednesday, Sky Bet said in a statement that it did not have access to financial information like banking records and mortgage loans, which are collected and held by an outside company, nor can it access certain tracking data.
The company said it used software to identify problem gamblers based on their frequency of play and deposits, and limited a person’s ability to gamble if somebody was viewed as at risk. Players can also self-exclude, the company said.
“Sky Betting & Gaming takes its safer gambling responsibilities incredibly seriously,” the company said. “Whilst we run marketing campaigns based on our customers expressed preferences and behaviors, we would never seek to advertise to anyone who may potentially be at risk of gambling harm.”
TransUnion, a large American credit scoring agency that owns CallCredit, Signal and Iovation, said that it complied with data protection laws and that gambling platforms used its services in a number of ways, including to detect fraud and money laundering.