32Red Casino Fined £2 Million by UK Gambling Commission
32Red Casino was fined £2 million by the UK Gambling Commission for failing to stop a problem gambler multiple times over a 2-year period. The United Kingdom’s gaming regulator claims 32Red Casino missed 22 opportunities to stop the problem gambler, during times when the VIP player was given free bonuses instead.
In all, the VIP high roller lost £758,000 during his two years as a gambler at 32red. The online casino company tracked the VIP gambler’s play, because the Gibraltar-based gaming site provided the high roller with 22 different bonuses, based upon the player’s attainments in the 32Red rewards program.
The UK Gambling Commission conducted a probe of the player’s habits and betting history to arrive at the fine. On at least one occasion, the player said he had spent too much in a fit of frustration. The same player also admitted to keep gambling to chase their losses — a consistent sign of a problem gambler.
UK Gambling Law 2006
Under the UK’s Gambling Law, operators must intervene when a gambler indicates to the site’s employees they are experiencing distress due to their gambling habit or they express they are a problem gambler. The UK Gambling Commission’s probe indicated the player indicated at least 22 times they were experiencing distress due to their gaming.
This is the latest in a series of problem gambling-related fines handed out by the UK Gambling Commission over the past two years, stemming from incidents in which UK gambling companies did not stop problem gamblers from playing to excess. The Gambling Commission believes 32Red Casino should have learned from the previous stiff fines.
Richard Watson on UK Regulators’ Fines
Richard Watson, who took over as the UK Gambling Commission’s director in February 2018, said 32Red and other gaming groups must learn the commission is serious about fining companies which do not protect customers.
Watson said, “Instead of checking on the welfare of a customer displaying problem gambling behaviour, 32Red encouraged the customer to gamble more. This is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to be doing. Operators must take action when they spot signs of problem gambling and should be carefully reviewing all the customers they are having a high level of contact with.”
32Red Did Not Probe Player’s Bio
The commission also noted that 32Red Casino did not investigate the player’s background to a legal level. Though the player’s monthly salary was £2,150, his average monthly deposit was £45,000. From the time he received VIP status in February 2013 until the player’s account was suspended nearly two years later, the customer had deposited £758,000.
32Red Casino’s fine is a black eye for the company, but it is by no means the online gaming group which has faced the wrath of the UK Gambling Commission over the past two years. Prior to that time, most fines had to do with violations of the advertising laws of the United Kingdom. The more lenient period came to an end when Sarah Harrison took over as the UK Gambling Commission’s chairperson.
Though Richard Watson took over for Harrison a few months back, his tenure as the head of the Gaming Commission appears as if it might include much more frequent fines even than his predecessor. The pattern of fines for major UK casino operators is established, but could be picking up pace.
UK Gambling Commission Fines
The pattern of the UK Gambling Commission fining top gaming groups who do not comply with their regulations is growing more distinct by the month. The list of companies fined in just the last two years is a who’s who of the United Kingdom’s top operators.
In February 2017, the commission fined Ladbrokes-Coral £2.3 million when two problem gamblers used stolen money to wager millions through the Ladbrokes-Coral gaming group. 888 Holdings, owner of 888 Casino, 888 Poker, and 888 Sport, was fined £7.8 million by the UK Gambling Commission in September 2017 over an unwillingness or inability of the company to enforce the self-exclusion decisions of many players on their sites, leading to the over a million in losses by gamblers on their sites.
In February 2018, the UK regulator fined William Hill £6.2 million for failing to spot problem gambling and stop money laundering in cases the commission considered obvious. Also, the UK Gambling Commission fined Tabcorp £84,000 in April 2018 over its inaction on enforcing self-exclusion laws.