Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Ladbrokes Coral Fined £5.9M After Failing To Protect Problem Gamblers

Ladbrokes Coral

Ladbrokes Coral has been hit with a £5.9 million fine by the UK Gambling Commission for failing to protect problem gamblers.

The betting operator received the fine for failing to fulfil its social responsibility obligations and prevent money laundering between 2014 and 2017. The failings occurred before the betting firm was bought out by GVC for £3.2 billion and relate to seven customers, though an additional five cases are being investigated.

In one case, the firm neglected to ask a customer about their source of funds for three years, resulting in the customer losing £1.5 million. Ladbrokes Coral didn’t carry out its social responsibility obligations though the customer displayed “clear signs” of a gambling addiction. The customer reportedly lost £64,000 in one month and logged into their account 10 times a day.

In another case, Ladbrokes Coral failed to question a customer who lost £98,000 across almost three years. The same customer also had 460 attempted deposits declined and asked the betting operator to stop sending promotions. Ladbrokes Coral also failed to provide evidence of its social responsibility interactions regarding a different customer who deposited over £140,000 in the first four months of registering.

The Outcome Of The Fine

Ladbrokes Coral’s owner GVC is responsible for paying the fine. Around £4.8 million of the fine will go towards responsible gambling causes while the additional £1.1 million will be given to the “affected parties”. Meanwhile, GVC has announced it will be reviewing the top 50 customers for the years between 2015 and 2017 to check whether or not further failings can be identified.

In a statement, GVC Chief Executive Kenny Alexander said: “Soon after the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral following meetings and ongoing inquiries by the Gambling Commission, it became clear to GVC that there had been historic compliance failures within certain areas of the operations.

“Working closely with the Gambling Commission and an independent firm of solicitors, GVC facilitated a thorough, prompt and far-reaching investigation, which has led to today’s settlement. These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.”

Richard Watson, the UK Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, said: “These were systematic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing through the business and this is unacceptable.”

The news comes after a report by The Independent last week claimed that the UK Gambling Commission had launched a series of new rules which require casino operators to regulate player spending and establish how much players can afford to gamble on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, a study from earlier this month highlighted the link between problem gamblers and suicide. It revealed that people suffering from a gambling addiction are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and 15 times more likely to try and take their own life.