The Betting and Gaming Council has dismissed allegations made by a Sunday Times investigation that UK betting firms engaged with the ‘breached data’ of the ‘Learning Records Service’ educational index, as being ‘untrue’.
The database contained the names, ages and addresses of a reported 28 million children aged 14 and above, designed for the purposes of verifying academic records and monitoring pupils’ educational needs.
The Learning Records Service index is managed by the Department of Education (DoE), which this weekend confirmed that it had shut down access to records, with DoE Secretary Gavin Williamson confirming an immediate investigation of the data breaches.
The Betting and Gaming Council emphasised: “Media reports that betting companies have access to the Learning Records Service database are untrue. 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.”
The Sunday Times detailed that the data breaches relate to third party access of the Learning Records Service by Chester-based intelligence firm GB Group Plc, who had been able to reference the educational data as part of a business agreement with employment screening firm Trust Systems Software, commonly known as ‘Trustopia’.
GB Group is reported to have utilised the data as a cross-referencing service for online gambling operators seeking to verify and age check customers. Betfair and 32Red have been disclosed as customers of GB Group data.
32Red has responded to allegations, underlining its stance that the Sunday Times report is ‘untrue and unfounded’.
Listed as a customer of GB Group data, 32Red was quick to respond to the reports, stating: “The report in the Sunday Times stating that 32Red, among other betting companies, has access to the Learning Records Service database is untrue and unfounded. As a responsible betting operator we have zero tolerance on under-age gambling.
“We are legally required to verify a number of criteria, including the age of people who wish to enjoy our services to ensure that they are over the age of 18. 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.
“83% of all 32Red’s new players in 2019 were over 25 years old and we actively shape our advertising to an older demographic. And since 2018, we have reduced the volume of new 18-24 customers by 15%. For the second consecutive year, we have also reduced promotional activity towards young adults. Promotional spend on players 18-24 years old is now 36% lower than in 2017 and fell 27% vs. 2018.”