Recent Fines Levied by the Gambling Commission target Operators for Breaches of Social Responsibility and Anti Money Laundering Regulations

In a number of recent no-nonsense determinations, the Gambling Commission has demonstrated that it will not hesitate to heavily fine and impose other punitive sanctions on Gambling Companies who do not proactively identify and address problem gambling and who do not carry out effective proof of wealth and source of income checks on its customers. Part of these determinations can include an order for the Gambling Companies to pay back to customers funds they have lost.

12 March 2020– Online gambling firm Betway was hit with a record Gambling Commission fine of £11.6m for failing to protect gambling addicts and to prevent people betting with stolen money.The industry regulator found one “VIP” customer deposited over £8m and lost more than £4m over a four-year period. Another customer lost £187,000 in two days after Betway failed to carry out adequate checks.

31 July 2019– Ladbrokes Coral Group was fined £5.9 million by the Gambling Commission for “systemic failings” in protecting problem gamblers and stopping money laundering.

An investigation from the Gambling Commission found that between November 2014 and October 2017, Ladbrokes Coral allowed stolen money to “flow through its business” due to “unacceptable” shortcomings.

Ladbrokes had not carried out any social responsibility interactions with a customer who lost £98,000 over two-and-a-half years, had 460 attempted deposits into their account declined and who even asked to operator to stop sending them promotions. Ladbrokes had also allowed someone who they identified as a problem gambler to carry on playing without taking further steps to verify source of funds or if the customer could afford to gamble that amount.

Corals had failed to check source of funds of customer who spent £1.5million over two years and 10 months. The gambler displayed signs of problem gambling by logging in on average 10 times a day, and lost £64,000 in one month alone.

11 June 2019– Online gambling operator Gamesys (Gibraltar) Limited was fined £1.2m by the Gambling Commission for failing to prevent gambling harm and breaching money laundering regulations. The Gambling Commission launched an investigation into the operator’s processes after police investigations revealed three individuals had spent stolen money with the gambling business. It was discovered that despite customers displaying behaviour that could indicate problem gambling the operator failed to deliver interaction that could have prevented harm.

The investigation also revealed the operator failed to comply with money laundering regulations, including not establishing customers’ source of funds.

20 February 2018– William Hill was fined £6.2m by the Gambling Commission for failing to protect consumers and prevent money laundering. The Commission said that over the two years to August 2016, the company failed to spot obvious signs of problem gambling, and in doing so breached anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

31 August 2017– The online betting firm 888 was fined a record £7.8m by the Gambling Commission for “outrageous” failings, after more than 7,000 people who had voluntarily banned themselves from gambling were still able to access their accounts. One customer was allowed to make 850,000 bets worth £1.3m in one year, using money stolen from their employer, prompting calls from the UK’s leading gambling charity and the Labour party for swifter action to address problem gambling.

JCLM has expertise in successfully resolving complaints both with the Gambling Companies and the Gambling Commission.

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