Entain Group hit with record £17m fine by the UKGC
Gambling giant Entain has been fined £17m by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) for several anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.
This fine is the largest in the commission’s record and the second time in three years that the world-renowned sports betting behemoth would be sanctioned.
Entain Group will be paying a total of £17m, of which £14m will be paid for failings at its digital arm LC International which runs 13 websites including ladbrokes.com, coral.co.uk, and foxybingo.com while £3m was awarded to be paid by its retail arm, Ladbrokes Betting, and Gaming Limited, which operates 2,746 gambling facilities around Britain.
Part of the social responsibility breaches of the gambling operator includes carrying out little to no interaction with customers who display signs of addiction. On one occasion, only one chat interaction was conducted with a customer who reportedly spent long periods of time gambling overnight for 18 months while depositing a total of £230,845.
Another shortcoming the regulator highlighted was how easy customers could override restrictions placed on opening multiple accounts. For instance, a customer, blocked at Coral after spending £60,000 in one year with no source of funds provided, was able to set up another account with Ladbrokes and deposit £30,000 in a day.
Another shop customer was allowed to keep gambling despite being known to be a low-income earner who had lost £17,000 in one year. These are only some of the instances of social responsibility malpractices highlighted by the UK gambling regulator.
In terms of AML, the operator failed to conduct online risk assessments and permitted huge sums of money to be staked without proof of funds or any sort of scrutiny. On one occasion, a player deposited £168,000 over eight months at shop terminals before being questioned while another deposited £524,501 between December 2019 and October 2020 without any customer due diligence check.
“Our investigation revealed serious failures that have resulted in the largest enforcement outcome to date,” UKGC chief executive Andrew Rhodes said.
“There were completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures. Operators are reminded they must never place commercial considerations over compliance.
“This is the second time this operator has fallen foul of rules in place to make gambling safer and crime-free.
“They should be aware that we will be monitoring them very carefully and further serious breaches will make the removal of their licence to operate a very real possibility. We expect better and consumers deserve better.”
This latest crackdown is one of many enforcement actions taken by the gambling regulator in order to enforce gambling safety among citizens.
According to the regulator, the payout will be paid to social responsibility causes as part of the settlement. Apart from the fine, the commission has stipulated other gambling conditions that must be met by the operator. It should be noted that Entain shares have dropped at the stock market since the announcement of the fine.