SpreadEx and Unibet in Trouble with Regulators

SpreadEx and Unibet in Trouble with Regulators

More gambling companies are running into trouble with regulators. SpreadEx must pay £1.36m to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), while Unibet have been fined in Ontario, Canada.

Recent months have seen the UKGC issuing penalties to companies for breaching regulatory conditions. This includes Entain (who had to pay £17m) and a £9.3m regulatory settlement for 888. Now it’s SpreadEx who find themselves in trouble.

As has been the case with Entain and 888, the breaches are regarding social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. SpreadEx, who sponsor Championship side Sunderland, were found by the UKGC to be using ineffective financial alerts when it came to finding out which of their customers were at risk of gamblng harm.

These failures led to customers losing “significant amounts” of money in short periods of time. One customer deposited £1.7m and then lost half a million pounds in just one month. The UKGC says that SpreadEx did not evaluate just how effective placing restrictions on that account would be.

Regarding anti-money laundering, for one player they were able to raise a financial deposit alert from £25,000 to £100,000. To do this, all they did was undergo a self-declaration of income and an open source check. Another customer made deposits of £365,000 but over a three month period, lost £284,00. This was allowed to happen even though the source of their funds had not been sufficiently established by SpreadEx.

Leanne Oxley is the director of enforcement and intelligence at the UKGC. She said that SpreadEx had quickly responded to the failings and “swift and robust action” has been taken by them.

In Canada, Unibet has been given a $48,000 financial penalty by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). They have only been operating in the province since April but soon found themselves in trouble for alleged ‘advertising infractions.’

Just a month after their launch, Unibet allegedly posted several betting inducements that promoted ‘generous welcome offers.’ While that is commonplace in the UK, it is a breach of the province’s Standard 2.05. This restricts advertising of this kind unless they are on the site of the company in question or in advertising or marketing sent to a consenting site member.

April saw Ontario allowing private companies to launch online betting sites. Before that took place, they informed companies of the strict rules regarding any messages that encourage people to gamble. Unibet can appeal the decision if they so wish.