The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) reported that it financially penalized a great number of gambling companies during the last fiscal year.
The British regulating body shared on June 29 that it imposed penalties upon gambling companies amounting to £18 million in a 12-month period until April 1, 2018. The announcement came as part of the Commission’s Enforcement Report 2017-2018. The report—the first of its kind publicly shared by the Commission—outlined the enforcement work conducted for the past year.
The Commission has toughened up to protect the British gambling customers. As a result, it imposed higher fines in order to push gambling companies to protect their customers and to prevent criminal activities from taking place under their noses. In fact, the total amount of fines handed out the past year surpassed 2016-2017’s reported fines by £1.6 million.
Sarah Harrison, UKGC chief executive, said:
“We will use the full range of enforcement powers to ensure operators put customers first and raise standards. The industry can be assured that we will use our powers in a targeted way, and consumers and the public can be assured we will take robust and effective action when gambling companies don’t meet their obligations.”
Neil McArthur, also a Commission chief executive, warned gambling companies of increased penalties if they disappoint in improving their customer-related services and anti-money laundering safeguards.
Record Fines for Operator 888
The Commission made mention of different casinos that committed different infringements for this past year. Some of them are well-known giants such as Tabcorp UK, William Hill, BGO Entertainment, Broadway Gaming, and Gala Interactive, among others.
One British gambling company lost a record amount in penalties imposed by the Commission. Operator 888 UK Limited received a total of £4.25 million in fines and £3.5 million in reimbursements. The Commission penalized the operator because more than 7,000 self-excluded customers of 888’s gambling sites—those who voluntarily blacklisted themselves from the casino—managed to deposit a total of £3.5 million in 13 months. In addition, the operator failed to detect the questionable behavior of one player who, after stealing £55,000 to fund his wagers, placed more than 800,000 bets—a total stake of around £1.3 million—between September 2014 and October 2015.
Raising the British Standard
The Enforcement Report is not just to look back at the Commission’s achievements as huge part of the document details different steps to guide operators in performing their duties to the customers. The report presented case studies and data to highlight pressing regulatory concerns in the British gambling industry. Included topics are about anti-money laundering, customer interaction, self-exclusion, unfair terms and practices, casino marketing and advertising, and illegal gambling.
“We want operators to pay attention to the lessons set out in this document. We want them to focus on ways to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers in Great Britain. We also want operators to collaborate and invest the same amount of resource, technology, and research into building better protections for consumers, as they do to creating new products, or advertising, or marketing campaigns.
The Commission views this report as a guide to help gambling operators in raising industry standards. The report mentioned that operators can expect harsher penalties should they fail to heed its guidance. On the other hand, companies can look forward to more lenient penalties should they cooperate with the Commission concerning regulatory-related matters.