The UK Gambling Commission has imposed a £5.9 million fine on Ladbrokes Coral, owned by GVC, for its failure to protect vulnerable customers from losing huge sums of money on their website. This is one of the largest fines ever imposed on an operator and shows that the UK GC is prepared to clamp down hard following years of warnings and tightening of regulations.
Ladbrokes Coral were found to have neglected their responsibilities in particular with relation to seven customers.
The first was found to have lost more than £1.5 million through betting over a period of three years. At one stage the player lost £64,000 in one month and had logged into their account more than 10 times during a day. At no stage did Coral attempt to establish the source of the funds used by this customer.
A second customer lost more than £98,000 in two and a half years, during which time they had 460 attempted deposits declined and asked the operator to cease sending promotional materials to them.
Another customer deposited £140,000 into their account during the four months following their registration on the site. Again, at no time were any social responsibility checks made on the account.
In another incident it was found that despite having ‘significant concerns’ about one customer account, no action was taken to prevent the player from wagering large sums of money on a regular basis.
Overall these failing in social responsibility took place between 2014 and 2017 which is prior to GVC’s buy-out of the company for £3.2 billion.
GVC will now be required to pay out £4.8 million to responsible gaming causes and £1.1 million to parties who had money stolen to be used by the problem gamblers to fund their betting.
The investigation is on-going as another five accounts are being looked into and Ladbrokes Coral have been asked to look into the 50 highest spending accounts from 2015 to 2017 to see if there is further evidence of problem gambling or fraud.
The chief executive of GVC, Kenny Alexander, said: “Soon after the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral following meetings and ongoing inquiries by the Gambling Commission, it became clear to GVC that there had been historic compliance failures within certain areas of the operations.
“Working closely with the Gambling Commission and an independent firm of solicitors, GVC facilitated a thorough, prompt and far-reaching investigation, which has led to today’s settlement.
“These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.”
The Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission, Richard Watson, said: “These were systemic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable.”
The UK GC is carrying out a consultation on the use of credit cards in online gambling from mid august to determine whether a ban should be imposed. Keep checking our news stories for more on this in the coming weeks.