UK fines Ladbrokes €6.4m over problem gamblers

The UK has fined bookmakers firm owner GVC £5.9m (€6.4m), after its Ladbrokes unit failed to keep track of problem gamblers.

UK fines Ladbrokes €6.4m over problem gamblers

The UK has fined bookmakers firm owner GVC £5.9m (€6.4m), after its Ladbrokes unit failed to keep track of problem gamblers.

The fine, following recent legislative scrutiny in Britain on addiction and problem gambling, marks a step-up in anti-money laundering oversight and bookmakers, said Kyle Phillips, director of corporate and financial crime at law firm Fieldfisher.

The UK’s Gambling Commission found Ladbrokes Coral did not put in place safeguards to prevent consumers from gambling harm and money laundering, said the National Lottery Commission, citing some cases where the company could have stepped in.

In one case, the commission said the company did not engage with a customer who lost £98,000 over two-and-a-half years.

The commission also said Ladbrokes allowed a customer to gamble without taking steps to verify the source of funds, or to consider if the customer could afford to spend, and lose, that amount of money.

GVC said it had taken measures towards safer gambling processes, including verifying customers’ sources of fund.

Several betting companies, including Bet365, Paddy Power-owner Flutter, Sky Betting, and William Hill, said, earlier this year, that they would significantly increase funding for problem gambling treatment and safer gambling measures.

Mr Phillips said gambling firms are subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act, and casinos are regulated by UK anti-money laundering regulations.

“Updated anti-money laundering regulations came into force in 2017 and it appears that enforcement is becoming tougher, so gambling businesses need to ensure they have appropriate safeguards in place, or expect to receive potentially significant fines,” he said.

- Additional reporting Reuters

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