UK Gambling Commission comes down hard on Ladbrokes Coral with £5.9 million Fine
The UKGC has levied a £5.9 million penalty on GVC Holdings, parent to Ladbrokes Coral.
The UKGC has a reputation for being amongst the strictest of gambling regulators in the industry. Their policies continue to evolve as they seek to enhance player protection by ensuring fair and transparent play, the protection of minors and the most vulnerable and the prevention of money laundering to finance criminal or terrorist activity. Operators that fail to honour their social and anti-money laundering (AML) responsibilities will feel the punishment of the regulator which could include fines, licence withdrawals and other consequences. In 2018 alone, the UKGC imposed £19.7m in fines against nine operators. Ladbrokes Coral also found this out the hard way when they were fined £5.9 million for lapses in anti-money laundering and social responsibility safeguards. Investigations into management personnel holding licences are still ongoing. We’ll take a look at some details next.
The Commission leading the investigation concluded that, between November 2014 and October 2017, Ladbrokes and Coral failed in their duties to put effective controls in place for anti-money laundering and consumers harmed by gambling. Prior to their November 2016 merger which is now part of GVC Holdings, Ladbrokes and Coral were separate entities. Amongst the findings, the commission found that Ladbrokes failed to carry out its responsibilities with a customer after failing to stop sending promotions at the request of the player. This player would go on to lose £98,000.
A second player deposited over £1.5 million at Coral in just over 24 months. Coral failed to carry out any communications with the player despite displaying symptoms of a gambling problem. This player would go on to lose £64,000.
In another instance, Ladbrokes failed to provide proof of conducting any communications with a player who deposited £140,000 in the first four months of an account opening. Ladbrokes also failed to verify the source of the funds or evaluate the player’s capacity to lose the money.
The Commission noted that GVC Holdings fully complied with the investigation.
The fine was imposed on systematic control lapses tied to AML and player protection.
£5.9 million fine
Of the £5.9 million fine, £4.8 million will be applied in place of a financial penalty, £1.1 million will go to the victims and £24,700 will go towards the Commission’s cost to investigate the cases. GVC Holdings must also revamp their responsible gaming and customer communications processes by hiring a dedicated expert to ensure player protection, better staff training and upping resources in this area. GVC has acknowledged shortcomings which they have committed to addressing by implementing what they call the “Changing for the Bettor” plan.
If you think that you might have a gambling problem, you can read our section on Responsible Gaming and Gambling Addiction to get the facts.