Casinos Fined £7.1 million over Regulation Breaches
There was a blow for Kindred Group plc this week as it was revealed two of their online gambling platforms, 32 Red Ltd and Platinum Gaming Ltd, were in breach of social responsibility regulations and anti-money laundering failures. As a result, the UK Gambling Commission issued both parties an official warning, along with eye-watering fines.
Both casinos are very well known throughout the UK, with 32Red being the primary sponsor of Glasgow Rangers FC. Platinum gaming, more commonly known as UNIBET, is known for being a shirt sponsor of Championship side Middlesbrough F.C. and Danish side FC Copenhagen, along with being a betting partner with AFC Ajax.
Speaking on behalf of Kindred Grop, chief executive Henrik Tjarnstrom stated:
Our commitment to reducing gambling harm across our platforms is a key part of our ‘journey towards zero’ ambition – and we are redoubling our efforts to ensure we continue that progress.
32Red Limited, which operates as 32Red.com, failed to identify and protect potential problem gamblers. For example, one customer was allowed to deposit £43,000 to his account and lose all but £7,000 within seven days.
It was found that customer interactions between players and the company were logged, but these interchanges were superficial and lacked depth or proper probing. This suggested that the operator settled for customer assurances without adequate due diligence. This is in strong breach of the social responsibility requirements outlined by the UK Gambling Commission.
Furthermore, 32Red was also found to be in breach of Anti-money laundering regulations by failing to thoroughly implement the measures described by the Money Lauder, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds. The company’s customers, who were at the time subject to a source of wealth (SOW) request were allowed to continue to deposit money into their account during the investigation, which is in clear violation of imposed regulations.
Similarly, Platinum Gaming failed to identify and interact with customers who may have been experiencing harm associated with gambling.
Perhaps more worryingly, self-excluded or blocked customers were able to register on Platinum Gaming after being blocked or self-excluded on the 32Red platform. This is something which should have been easily picked up by both platforms as they are both part of the same gambling operator.
As a result of these breaches, 32 Red will be forced to pay a fine of £4,195,655, while Platinum Gaming, which runs as UNIBET.co.uk, will pay £2,937,599.
This means that the Kindred Group will have to pay up to £7.1 million for failure to implement proper procedures deemed necessary by the UK Gambling Commission for safe and fair gambling.
Executive director of the UKGC, Kay Roberts, said in a statement relating to the breaches:
These failures highlight clearly that both operators failed to interact with customers in a way which minimises the risk of them experiencing harms associated with gambling.
Our investigations also showed that policies and procedures were overlooked, both around customer accounts and anti-money laundering practices.
Ultimately, it is an example which all gambling operators should take notice of to ensure they protect customers at all times.
This is the latest regulatory action this year as Vivaro Ltd, TonyBet, InTouch Games, and Blue Star Planet all faced penalties after similar violations.
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