Any player who wants to gamble should do so safely on a licensed and regulated platform such as https://vulkanvegas.com/en. That’s because wagering on your favorite casino games and sporting events on certified platforms is your best bet for enjoying fair experiences without the fear of getting shortchanged.
As standard practice, before any licenses are awarded, trustworthy iGaming operators must vow to abide by tight codes of conduct and regulatory guidelines. If the operators miss a step in any part of their service provision process, they are judged accordingly, and their licenses may even be revoked depending on the severity of the regulatory breach.
For instance, there are social responsibilities guidelines that all gaming operators should abide by upon receiving a license. So, besides offering an environment where players can gamble freely and fairly, operators are required to keep crimes like money laundering out of gambling and protect vulnerable persons and children from gambling harm.
UK’s gambling oversight body, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has recently been investigating its licensees to ensure that they are conducting their operations by the book, and a few fell short. So, here’s a look into what exactly put some of the most popular operators in the UK on the receiving end of the gambling ombudsman.
LeoVegas £1.32m Fine
After an investigation, the UKGC fined LeoVegas £1.32 million for breaching social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Additionally, LeoVegas, which is the operator behind Slot Boss, LeoVegas, 21, BetUK and Pink Casino, has received an official warning from the watchdog. The operator will also undergo an audit to ensure appropriate social responsibility and AML controls are well implemented. Some of the social responsibility failings discovered by UKGC include:
- LeoVegas placed much higher spending control limits than the average customer’s expenditure without explaining how it was appropriate.
- The operator set a six-hour cap, after which a customer must cool off for 45 minutes. However, no explanation was offered about how they determined that players could gamble for six hours straight without facing harm.
- The operator did not take into account the UK Gambling commission’s 2019 guide on customer interactions.
- LeoVegas was lacking in its policy of interactions with players who show signs of gambling harm, i.e., customers who had long gameplay sessions, which mainly occurred at night into the morning, and cancelled withdrawals.
Furthermore, the Commission stated that LeoVegas relies on insufficient information and ineffective threshold triggers regarding the amount of money a customer is allowed to spend based on their wealth, income and other risks.
Entain $20.5 Million Fine
Entain, a sports betting and gaming group, will pay a hefty fine of $20.5 million in total after it was found liable for social responsibility and AML shortcomings by the UK Gambling Commission. The gaming giant will pay a $16.8 million fine for shortcomings in its iGaming subsidiary LC International Limited, which operates Foxy Bingo, Coral and Ladbrokes. Additionally, due to regulatory failings in its Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited brand, Entain will pay a $3.6 million fine.
After conducting their investigation on Entain, the UK Gambling Commission discovered failures, such as:
- The operator allowed players to bet without adequately checking their source of funds. For example, Entain did not investigate the source of funds of a customer who deposited £186,000 in 6 months, and the said customer’s home address was registered to a social housing property.
- The Commission determined that Entain did not identify and interact with players in danger of experiencing harm. For example, between 2019 and 2020, at night into the early mornings, a player bet £230,000. The player was referred to Entain’s safer gambling team twice and would only interact with them just once.
- Entain also allowed players subject to restrictions and inquiries to open multiple accounts.
Smarkets £630,000 Fine
The UK oversight body handed Smarkets (Malta) Limited a £630,000 fine after it was found to have breached AML and social responsibility rules. Additionally, the operator has received an official warning and will undergo an audit to ensure they uphold the social responsibility and money laundering policies, procedures and controls.
The Commission blamed the operator’s poor systems and processes for failing to implement its controls and policies. Some of the Smarkets social responsibility breaches are as follows:
- Not carrying out the source of fund checks. For example, within four months, a player deposited £395,000 without any proper check of their source of funds. In addition, the Commission discovered another player was making bank transfers of larger amounts without any inquiry or source of funds check.
- Smarkets also breached the social responsibility code of practice for failing to identify and interact with players in danger of experiencing gambling harm.
No Compromise for Player Safety!
It is encouraging to see the UK gaming regulator not holding back on punishment for any social responsibility misconduct. Player protection by operators must be a priority for gambling to be a safe form of entertainment for anyone who engages in the activity. Here’s to hoping that the offenders will set an example for all other licensed operators and correct their mistakes to avoid future penalties.
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