HomeInsightsInformation Commissioner’s Office cracks down on use of personal data in online gambling sector

The ICO is targeting more than 400 companies believed to be using people’s personal details to promote online gambling websites.

The regulator is writing to companies demanding they set out how they use people’s personal details and send marketing texts. This includes where they got people’s personal information from and how many texts they sent.

The campaign is part of an investigation by the ICO into large numbers of spam texts linked to the gambling sector.

The ICO reminds readers that failure to comply with the law can result in enforcement action, including a fine of up to £500,000.

The ICO is writing to companies identified as being involved in affiliate marketing. This is when businesses offer to pay organisations that bring them new customers, sometimes leading to a situation where neither party is taking any responsibility for complying with data protection rules. The gambling sector is an area where the ICO has become aware of particular problems around affiliate marketing.

If businesses do not respond to the request for information, the ICO can use its powers to demand the information to be provided.

David Clancy, ICO anti-spam investigations manager, said: “Companies must comply with the law when using people’s personal information. Not knowing the law or trying to pass the buck to another company in the chain is no excuse. The public expect firms to be accountable for how they obtain and use personal data when marketing by phone, email or text. Fail to be accountable and you could be breaking the law, risking ICO enforcement action and the future of your business”. To read the ICO’s press release in full, click here.