17 August 2022 | A gambling business is to pay £17 million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures at its online and land-based businesses.
Entain Group will pay £14 million for failures at its online business LC International Limited which runs 13 websites including ladbrokes.com, coral.co.uk and foxybingo.com.
It will also pay £3 million for failures at its Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited operation which runs 2,746 gambling premises across Britain.
All £17 million will be directed towards socially responsible purposes as part of a regulatory settlement.
Additional licence conditions will also be added to ensure a business board member oversees an improvement plan, and that a third-party audit to review its compliance with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice takes place within 12 months.
Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Our investigation revealed serious failures that have resulted in the largest enforcement outcome to date.
“There were completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures. Operators are reminded they must never place commercial considerations over compliance.
“This is the second time this operator has fallen foul of rules in place to make gambling safer and crime free.
“They should be aware that we will be monitoring them very carefully and further serious breaches will make the removal of their licence to operate a very real possibility. We expect better and consumers deserve better.”
Social responsibility failures include:
- being slow to interact with, or not interacting with, certain customers in a way which minimised their risk of experiencing harms associated with gambling – the operator conducted just one chat interaction with an online customer who spent extended periods gambling overnight during an 18-month period in which they deposited £230,845
- allowing customers subject to enquiries and restrictions to open multiple accounts with the Licensee’s other brands – one online customer who was blocked with Coral because they had spent £60,000 in 12 months and failed to provide Source of Funds (SOF) was immediately able to open an account with Ladbrokes and deposit £30,000 in a single day
- one shop customer was not escalated for a safer gambling review by either the shop or support office teams despite staking £29,372 and losing £11,345 in a single month
- overseeing the failure of local staff or area managers to escalate potential concerns with customers sooner – one shop customer was not escalated despite being known to be a delivery driver who had lost £17,000 in a year and another was not escalated despite staking £173,285 and losing £27,753 over the same time period.
Anti-money laundering failures include:
- failing to conduct an adequate risk assessment of the risks of their online business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing
- allowing online customers to deposit large amounts without carrying out sufficient SOF checks – one consumer was allowed to deposit £742,000 in 14 months without appropriate SOF checks and another, who was known to live in social housing, was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months without sufficient SOF checks
- failing to conduct enhanced customer due diligence checks soon enough – one online customer was allowed to deposit £524,501 between December 2019 and October 2020 before the operator closed the account due to the customer failing to supply SOF evidence
- placing excessive reliance on open-source information – one online consumer was allowed to deposit £140,700 between December 2019 and October 2020 but prior to a SOF check in August 2020, the operator based its knowledge of the customer’s source of wealth on open-source searches
- allowing customers to stake large amounts of money without having been monitored or scrutinised – one betting shop customer was allowed to stake a total of £168,000 on shop terminals over eight months before the operator carried out due diligence checks.