| Ladbrokes and Coral owner, Entain, fined for continued failing to protect customers after a
previous fine 3 years earlier for the same issue
Entain, the gambling firm behind Ladbrokes and Coral,
could lose its licence to operate in the UK after it was told to pay a record £17m settlement over its inaction as individual customers spent hundreds of
thousands of pounds.
The Gambling Commission highlighted multiple failings in Entains online and high street business, all of which occurred after
the government announced a review of gambling laws that has led the industry to promise to improve controls to tackle addiction and prevent money laundering.
Entain will pay £14.0m for failings from LC International Limited (LCI), which runs Entains online brands including Ladbrokes.com,
Coral.co.uk and Foxybingo.com. The remaining £3.0m is for the Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited (LBG) land-based business, which operates 2,746
betting shops across Great Britain.
The completely unacceptable incidents, which triggered Entains second regulatory settlement in
three years, included carrying out just one chat interaction with a customer who spent long periods gambling in the middle of the night over 18 months,
Another customer who was blocked from betting with Coral over concerns about their betting was allowed to set up another
account with a different Entain brand and deposit £30,000 in a day.
A third individual was allowed to deposit £742,000 in 14 months without
appropriate checks on what they could afford, while another, who was known to live in social housing, was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months
without sufficient checks.
In a series of other incidents, customers lost hundreds of thousands of pounds, without being subjected to checks on their
source of funds.
The failings took place as the industry lobby group, the Betting and Gaming Council, was publicly pushing back against proposals
designed to prevent vulnerable people incurring punishing losses, such as strict affordability checks.
As a result of the failings, Gambling Commission
chief executive Andrew Rhodes warned that the regulator could revoke Entains licence in the event of further failings, particularly as the business had
also paid a £5.9m penalty for similar failings in 2019. Entain, meanwhile, noted that the failings had come before a number of new responsible gambling
initiatives, such as the launch of its ARC player protection tool.
This is the second time this operator has fallen foul of rules in place to
make gambling safer and crime free, said the regulators chief executive, Andrew Rhode.
The commission has never revoked a major
operators permission to take bets in Great Britain but has the power to do so, or to suspend temporarily its licence to operate.
for the Betting & Gaming Council said: We believe enhanced spending checks should be used online to identify those showing signs of problem gambling
and to focus in on those at risk, so swift interventions can take place.
But it is essential this is targeted [
] so we dont interfere
with the personal freedoms of the vast majority of people who gamble safely and responsibly, as research shows that 90% of people do not comply with requests
Entain was found to have placed excessive reliance on open-source information in certain cases. This included a player who was
believed to be wealthy based on assumptions made during open-source checks, but, prior to a SoF request in August 2020, no evidence had been obtained to show
that the assumed wealth was being used to fund the account. The customer deposited £140,700 in the period with an overall net loss of