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32Red To Pay a £2m Fine for Failing to Protect a Customer
- June 20, 2018 By Oliver Young -
UK online gambling operator 32Red was fined with massive £2m penalty for failing to protect consumers or, more precisely, a single customer. The news published by the UK Gambling Commission, which revealed that the operator apparently broke the social responsibility and anti-money laundering provisions by allowing their customer to deposit £758,000 without carrying out appropriate checks.
The UK Gambling Commission has been dedicated to protecting UK consumers and especially strict in the past two years. Namely, 32Red is not the only reputable UK online gambling operator to get a fine by the authority; back in February, the gambling industry was shocked by the even higher £6.2m fine issued to William Hill for the same anti-money laundering and social responsibility related failings.
According to various news reports, 32Red missed 22 opportunities to help the problem gambler. Moreover, instead of providing the consumer with advice and help, the operator encouraged their behavior by granting free bonuses as well as VIP status. Failing to check whether their customer can afford to spend so much money as well as where the money comes from resulted with breaking license conditions and eventually to the massive fine.
User Spent £758,000 in the Period Between November 2014 and April 2017
As the UK Gambling Commission reveals on their website, the user in question has deposited and spent a considerable amount of £758,000 in the period between November 2014 and April 2017. Apparently, the investigation conducted by the UKGC showed that 32Red missed 22 opportunities to help as there have been 22 incidents that indicated the user was actually a problem gambler.
Some of the incidents include admissions to the operator staff that the user spent too much money as well as chasing losses and displaying frustration. The authority has provided examples of the incidents; some of these include sentences like “I have had enough of the site not performing well” and “I’ve deposited quite a sum.”
Additionally, it was revealed that the operator decided to review the account only in January 2017 after the total deposited amount reached £500,000. Afterwards, it was discovered that the user had average monthly net salary of £2,150, while their average monthly deposits were going over £45,000.
Fine Consists of Divestment of Financial Gain and Financial Penalty
As revealed in the public statement regarding the fine for the online operator 32Red, the £2m penalty package consists of disinvestment of the financial gain and a financial penalty; the figures for these are £709,046 and £1.3m, respectively. Moreover, there is £15,000 payment towards investigative costs as well as demand for improving policy, procedure and risk management.
Commenting on the fine, the UKGC Executive Director Richard Watson said that instead of “checking the welfare of a customer” who displays problem gambling behavior, 32Red “encouraged the customer to gamble more.” Watson highlighted that such acting was exact opposite of what the operator was supposed to do and pointed out that UK operators must act when signs of problem gambling are spotted.
Additionally, Watson said that “protecting consumers from gambling-related harm” was priority for the UKGC and therefore they would take “tough action” towards operators failing in their responsibilities to keep UK players safe.