failings resulted in consumers being harmed, says Gambling
Ladbrokes Coral will pay a
£5.9m penalty, one of the largest imposed by the Gambling Commission,
over systemic failings to protect problem gamblers who lost
hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The regulator detailed a litany of
transgressions by Ladbrokes Coral between 2014 and 2017, finding that it failed
to fulfil its obligations to protect customers from gambling harm
and prevent money laundering.
When the company became aware of the
problem, it simply reduced the number of its customers it deemed high
risk, rather than investing to protect them the commissions
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 commissions
executive director, Richard Watson, said.
The failures include
neglecting to ask one customer who lost £1.5m over three years about
their source of funds, despite clear signs of problem gambling such as logging
into their account 10 times a day and losing £64,000 in a month.
Ladbrokes did not ask any questions of another customer who lost
£98,000 over two and a half years, had 460 attempted deposits declined
and even asked the operator to stop sending them marketing promotions.
The bookmaker, owned by Isle of Man-based firm GVC, also failed to
intervene when customer who deposited more than £140,000 in the first
four months of their account being open.
The commission said that in
one case Ladbrokes identified significant concerns about a customer
but continued to allow them to place large wagers.
continued even after the company and its management should have known about
them, the Commission said, adding that it was still investigating individuals
who could lose their licence to operate in the industry.
As part of the
settlement GVC will pay £4.8m towards responsible gambling causes and
will forfeit £1.1m to affected parties.
It will also
review the top 50 customers for the years 2015-17 to consider whether any
further failings can be identified.
Its chief executive, Kenny
Alexander, said GVC discovered historic compliance failures after
buying Ladbrokes Coral for £3.2bn in 2018.
failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition I have overseen a
systematic review of the enlarged groups player protection procedures and
the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.
The Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who leads a cross-party group on problem
gambling, said she didnt think the failures were isolated cases.
I believe that the industry does not act in a reasonable manner
in how they deal with problem gambling or excessive gambling.
Every day I hear from individuals and families whose lives have
been blighted by the industrys quest for profit and its disregard for
customers. Although this is a substantial fine, to Ladbrokes Coral its
loose change and I doubt they will learn any lessons.
GVC said it
had made significant investments to ramp up the checks to ensure customers can
afford to bet, including a fivefold increase in staff dedicated to compliance
and responsible gambling.