Entain Ordered to Pay £17m Regulatory Settlement

Entain Ordered to Pay £17m Regulatory Settlement

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have been flexing their growing muscles again. They have ordered the Entain Group to pay a £17m regulatory settlement for failings in the areas of social responsibility and anti-money laundering. This is nearly double the £9.3m that 888 had to pay earlier this year.

£14m of the regulatory settlement is for digital failings discovered at LC International. They run 13 websites including such well known companies such as Coral, Ladbrokes and Foxy Bingo. The other £3m has been issued to the retail side of the business..

The UKGC have also added some licence conditions to ensure that they can oversee an improvement plan. There will be a third-party audit review taking place within the next year to check whether there is compliance with the additional licence conditions.

While the wait continues for the publication of the UK Government White Paper on gambling reform, the UKGC have been getting increasingly stricter toward those they have granted licences to.

That’s particularly the case where social responsibility failings are uncovered. They found that in 2019 and 2020, the Entain owned sites were either too slow to get in touch with customers who may have gambling problems or not contact them at all. One customer deposited £230,845 during an 18-month period of “extended periods gambling overnight.”

The UKGC also found that Entain customers who did have restrictions placed upon them were able to open “multiple accounts’ with other brands. This included one gambler who found themselves blocked at Coral after spending £60,000 in a year. No evidence was provided for where that money was coming from. Wanting to continue gambling, they just opened an account with Ladbrokes and in just one day deposited £30,000.

It’s not just online where there have been social responsibility failings. One gambler went to a land-based betting shop and lost £11,354 in a month after placing bets to the value of £29,372. The manager and shop staff did not express concern during this bad run of luck.

It was the same with a delivery driver who lost £17,000 in a year and for another customer who lost £27,753 in 12 months from bets worth £173,285.

There were anti-money laundering failings too. The UKGC found a lack of monitoring with one shop customer placing bets to the value of £168,000 on shop terminals in the space of eight months before any due diligence checks took place.

An online customer was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months even though it was known they lived in social housing.

Andrew Rhodes is the UKGC chief executive and said that their investigation “revealed serious failures” and that is why a record high enforcement outcome has occurred. He added: “There were completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures. Operators are reminded they must never place commercial considerations over compliance.”

It’s the second time that Entain have “fallen foul of rules in place to make gambling safer and crime free.” The UKGC chief executive said that they will be “monitoring them very carefully” and further “serious breaches” will make it a “very real possibility” that they could lose their licence. “We expect better and consumers deserve better,” he concluded.

Entain accepted the decision but wanted to make it clear that no evidence of “criminal spend” within their operations had been uncovered by the UKGC.