Leading gambling industry executives apologised for the harm caused by the industry as they faced MPs in a packed committee room in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.
They were speaking at the latest session of an inquiry into the online sector being carried out by the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group.
The APPG's chair Carolyn Harris concluded the questioning by asking: "Do you agree that the industry has done harm? What I'm saying to you now is there are people in this room who have suffered great harm as a result of your industry. Many have lost loved ones, some have lost their homes, all have lost their dignity.
"Would any of you like to say sorry for the role of your companies for causing the damage to these people?"
Dan Taylor, chief executive for Europe at Paddy Power Betfair's parent company Flutter Entertainment, replied: "The industry has got things wrong and has caused harm, and harm to individuals, and we mustn't forget that."
Ian Proctor, chief executive of Sky Betting and Gaming agreed that "historically we haven't done enough", while bet365 joint chief executive John Coates echoed his view.
Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East, asked: "Are you prepared to say sorry?" to which the industry representatives, who also included William Hill's managing director of online for the UK and Ireland Phil Walker and Tombola chief executive Phil Cronin, said they were. Harris began the hearing, which lasted more than 90 minutes and was attended by a number of safer gambling campaigners, by renewing her criticism of Kenny Alexander, Philip Bowcock and Peter Jackson – the chief executives of GVC Holdings, William Hill and Flutter Entertainment – who had all been set to appear at the session but subsequently pulled out.
Taylor, who deputised for Jackson, told the MPs: "Hopefully what you'll hear today is an industry which is committed to establishing safer gambling.
"I certainly recognise that processes and the way the business is supposed to operate has not been sufficient and hopefully you will see and hear some of the efforts we're making, although I recognise there's still work to do.
"For me it's a non-negotiable part of our strategy and critical to the future of our business.
"I think we're making steps in the right direction but still need to do more."
Walker added: "I believe the industry recognise public concerns and is working hard to address them."
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In areas such as affordability checks and customers who had asked for their accounts to be closed due to problem gambling, Harris said she had evidence that operators' safeguards had failed individuals.
Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith concentrated on so-called VIP customers, asking how they qualified for such status and what percentage of operators' profits came from them.
While the executives said VIPs were only a small part of their business, Walker told Duncan Smith that in the last year William Hill had closed 30 per cent of such accounts "because we weren't confident their source of funds was adequate".
Duncan Smith concluded by saying: "It suggests to me that you encourage people to bet at a higher level but at the same time you recognise that betting at a higher level brings with it a much greater level of likelihood of harm. So why would you do that?"
While the industry representatives largely kept a united front there was disagreement when they were asked whether there should be restrictions on areas such as shirt sponsorship in sport and pitch-side advertising.
Taylor said Flutter was "supportive of restrictions" on shirt sponsorship but Coates, whose family own Stoke City, said they felt "that particular sponsorship is a force for good".
Proctor, whose firm sponsor the English Football League, added: "My view is that being a well-regulated business should allow us the ability to advertise."
An emotional Harris ended the meeting by saying: "Thank you for coming. Others will have told you that I'm an irate woman and today I have had to take a chill pill, not because I am anti-gambling but I do feel the pain of everyone in this room.
"I am trying to have respect for the industry but I am really struggling at the moment."