A gambling company is to pay £17million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures across its online and land-based businesses.
Entain Group will pay £14million for failures at its online business LC International Limited, which operates 13 websites including ladbrokes.com, coral.co.uk and foxybingo.com.
It will also pay £3million for failures at its Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited operation, which runs 2,746 gambling establishments across Britain.
All £17 million will be earmarked for socially responsible purposes as part of a regulatory settlement.
Additional license terms will also be added to ensure that a member of the board oversees an improvement plan and that a third-party audit to review its compliance with license terms and codes of practice takes place within 12 months.
Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “Our investigation has revealed serious failures which have resulted in the biggest enforcement result to date.
“There were totally unacceptable failures in anti-money laundering and safer gaming. Operators are reminded that they should never put commercial considerations above compliance.
“This is the second time this operator has broken the rules in place to make gaming safer and crime free.
“They should be aware that we will be watching them very carefully and that further serious violations will make removing their operating license a very real possibility. We expect better and consumers deserve better.
Social responsibility breaches include:
- being slow to interact with, or not interacting with, certain customers in a way that minimizes their risk of harm associated with gambling – the operator conducted only one chat interaction with an online customer who spent long periods gambling overnight over an 18 month period in which they deposited £230,845
- allowing customers subject to inquiries and restrictions to open multiple accounts with the licensee’s other brands – one online customer who was locked out with Coral because he spent £60,000 in 12 months and had not provided a source of funds (SOF) was immediately able to open an account with Ladbrokes and deposit £30,000 in a single day
- a shop customer was not escalated to a safer play review by the shop or helpdesk teams despite staking £29,372 and losing £11,345 in a single month
- overseeing the failure of local staff or area managers to escalate potential issues with customers sooner – one store customer was not escalated despite being known to be a delivery driver who had lost 17 £000 in one year and another failed to come up despite staking £173,285 and losing £27,753 over the same period.
Anti-money laundering failures include:
- failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment of their online activities being used for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes
- allowing online customers to deposit large sums without carrying out sufficient SOF checks – one consumer was allowed to deposit £742,000 in 14 months without proper SOF checks and another, known to live in council housing, was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months without sufficient SOF checks
- failing to carry out thorough customer due diligence checks early enough – an online customer was allowed to deposit £524,501 between December 2019 and October 2020 before the operator closed the account because the customer failed to provided with SOF proof
- over-reliance on open source information – an online consumer was allowed to deposit £140,700 between December 2019 and October 2020, but before an SOF check in August 2020 the operator based their knowledge of the customer’s source of wealth on open source research
- allowing customers to wager large sums of money without being monitored or checked – a betting shop customer was allowed to wager a total of £168,000 on the shop’s terminals for eight months before the operator performs due diligence checks.
Details of breaches can be read in public statements.
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Last update: August 17, 2022