Betfair has admitted to failing to identify Luke Ashton as a high-risk gambler before he took his own life. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Betfair has admitted that its machine learning algorithm failed to identify Luke Ashton as a high-risk user before he took his own life. The 40-year-old died in April 2021 after struggling for many years with problem gambling. The previous month he lost £5,000 ($6,408) and was placing large quantities of bets every day at the time.
The Betfair Exchange was one of Ashton’s preferred online gambling platforms and the operator was labeled as an “interested person” in the inquest. It was the first time that this categorization was given to a gambling company in such a hearing.
self-excluded himself from the platform for a period of time in 2013, 2014, and 2016
Paddy Power Betfair managing director Richard Clarke spoke at the inquest this week about the failure to identify the Leicester native’s problematic gambling behavior. The father-of-two had previously self-excluded himself from the platform for a period of time in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
When an operator identifies a potentially at-risk gambler, it can take steps to try to help the person restrict their gambling. Speaking about the tragic outcome, Clarke said: “Looking at Luke’s activity in March 2021, it does look like we should’ve done more.” He noted that a lot has changed since then.