UKGC Clamps Down on “Unruly” Gambling Operators
July 3rd, 2019 3.00pm
The UK Gambling Commission’s crusade continues, as the regulator slowly advances towards a record-breaking £20M in fines. Judging by the Commission’s latest actions, there will be no more leniency and tolerance for the callous operators. Despite the harsh measures, the UKGC’s report is far from encouraging, and according to the regulator’s officials, the improvement in policies is barely noticeable.
Online Casino Operators Accused of Being the Enablers
The alarming increase in gambling addiction rate has been traced back to the online casino operators, accused of being unscrupulous facilitators who exploit the players’ afflictions for their own personal gain. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, yet the UK Gambling Commission seems uninterested in the nuances. The regulator’s score has reached an amazing figure of £19.6M in fines, indicating that the Commission is no longer falling for loopholes. On the contrary – a series of rigorous fines sends a clear message: get on board or suffer the consequences.
Apparently, UKGC is not the only regulator that has decided to “get rid of the bad seed” so to speak, and other authorities (outside the UK) have gone down the same road, ready to go all the way and even revoke a licence if necessary.
If the trend continues, the total revenue percentage contributed by the fines will exceed the current 0.13%.
What Has Spurred the Sudden Clamp Down?
Apparently, the operators’ negligence and failure to comply with the AML laws have grown out of tolerable proportions (if such a limit should even exist), bringing numerous irregularities to the attention of the authorities.
It seems that an incident with 888 casino was the proverbial snowball that started the avalanche. The incident took place two years ago when a technical glitch enabled self-excluded members to gain full access to 888’s casino, poker and sportsbook platforms.
The affair initiated a domino effect, and 2017 will be forever remembered as a year when numerous investigations were launched, revealing unsettling notions – a mere formality of both the AML and the social responsibility guidelines. The investigation uncovered that some of the operators’ have failed to “practice what they preach”, which has resulted in severe breaches of responsible gaming standards.
The Operators Who Paid the Price
Out of the entire £19.6M amount, more than 1/3 (or £7.1m) came from Daub Alderney operator that manages several gaming sites, including Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo. Compared to Daub Alderney, Paddy Power Betfair (now Flutter Entertainment) got off lightly, cashing out “only” £2.2m.
It almost seems like the Commission has struck gold – the officials have stated that “they found repeated examples” of casino members gambling away vast sums of money, without so much as raising an eyebrow of the operators.
Failing to Intervene Will Have the Same Weight as Active Marketing and Calling a Player to Action
The current system, which enables the players to register their details and bar themselves from gaming sites has turned out to be inefficient in the long run, and the Commission was relying on the operators and their business ethics to step in and save the day when all else fails. It remains unclear if the Commission’s expectations were too optimistic and how the operators managed to get away with their “negligence” for as long as they did.
So far, internal investigations have revealed hundreds of thousands of self-exclusion violations, where the players who restricted themselves from using online casino services found a way back in.
At this point, it becomes irrelevant if the issue is caused by technical errors, gross negligence, or the lack of social responsibility. The UKGC has spoken – whatever the reason was, it ends here.
UKGC Tightens the Noose