The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been very active lately. This regulatory body has been doing a lot to try and enforce stricter regulations onto operators offering their services to UK players. Ladbrokes Coral has become the latest victim of stricter policies. Namely, the UK bookmaker will have to pay a £2.5 million fine.
In the past, the UKGC came after operators for bad advertising practices or something along these lines. However, Ladbrokes Coral was fined for a different violation that has to do with responsible gambling. The bookie accepted large amounts of money from two players, without bothering to verify the source. It later turned out these players were using stolen money.
Losses Exceeding £1,000,000
According to the UKGC investigation, over the course of 2014 and 2015, these two players lost more than £1.3 million between them. One of them lost north of £800,000. His highest single deposit in one day was £49,000.
The other player’s losses amounted to more than £430,000. His biggest single deposit during the time was £20,000.
Despite big deposits and huge losses, Ladbrokes Coral didn’t make any attempts to get in touch with these two high rollers. The bookie had a responsibility to verify the money was coming from legal sources but failed to do so. In the aftermath, it came to light that both players were using stolen funds to play with.
They received prison sentences of four and four and a half years, respectively, for their crimes. However, the bookie’s responsibility in the matter was questioned.
Sending Out a Clear Message
Once the dust settled, the UKGC came after Ladbrokes Coral. First, they were ordered to refund all losses, amounting to £1.27 million. Further, the bookie was fined with £1,000,000 on top to be paid for the problem gambling research. As a good will gesture, the company added £200,000 on top of the million.
In total, Ladbrokes Coral needs to pay out £2,5 million to pay back for their misconduct in handling the entire situation.
With this decision, the UKGC has once again sent out a clear message. The commission will not tolerate casinos and bookies taking advantage of the players. Everyone operating under the UKGC umbrella needs to employ and enforce responsible gambling policies.
This is just the latest of similar fines the UK bookies had to face. It was last year that the UKGC fined William Hill for delaying a player’s withdrawal for no good reason. However, 888 Holdings is the company that was hit hardest so far. The gaming giant had to pay just shy of £8 million for breaking the rules of responsible gambling.
Clearly, times are changing. The UKGC and the UK government are taking a much harsher stance towards gambling providers of all sorts. In the past, these big operators would usually get away with borderline behaviors and practices. However, it is clear that moving forward they’ll have to carry their part of the burden, which should help improve the fairness balance between players and online casinos, bookies, and other gaming operators.