Failings over three-year period lead to £5.9m fine
The owners of Ladbrokes Coral have been handed a fine totalling £5.9 million for failing to protect vulnerable customers and not being stringent enough with anti-money laundering measures between November 2014 and October 2017.
Following an investigation by the Gambling Commission, they have stated that Ladbrokes and Coral "failed to put in place effective safeguards to prevent consumers suffering gambling harm and against money laundering, with this failing continuing after their merger as the Ladbrokes Coral Group".
Multiple failings include:
- It was found that Ladbrokes did not carry out any social responsibility interactions with a customer who lost £98,000 over a period of two-and-a-half years, it was shown that the customer had 460 attempted deposits into their account declined. The individual also asked the operator to stop sending them promotions.
- Despite one customer spending £1.5m over two-years and 10 months, Coral did not ask the customer for any evidence of their source of funds. Coral were also not able to provide evidence of any social responsibility interactions being carried out. During their time betting with Coral the customer frequently displayed signs of problem gambling, this included logging into their account an average of 10 times a day for a month and losing £64,000 in one month alone.
- Ladbrokes could not provide any evidence of carrying out social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited over £140,000 in the first four months of their account being open.
- Having identified concerns with a customer, Ladbrokes then allowed further significant gambling without taking additional steps to verify the source of funds or consider if the customer could afford to spend and lose that amount of money.
As a result of these failings GVC Holdings will pay £4.8 million and divest £1.1 million gained from customers.
Chief Executive of GVC Holdings Kenneth Alexander said in a statement released this morning: “Soon after the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral following meetings and ongoing enquiries by the Gambling Commission, it became clear to GVC that there had been historic compliance failures within certain areas of the operations. Working closely with the Gambling Commission and an independent firm of solicitors, GVC facilitated a thorough, prompt and far-reaching investigation, which has led to today’s settlement.
"These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged Group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business. I am confident that, we now have in place a robust and industry leading approach to player protection.
“More broadly, GVC is determined to take the lead in the critical area of responsible gambling, and is taking decisive, tangible action across a range of initiatives. This includes our recent voluntary commitment to increase funding for research, education and treatment projects ten-fold, as well as our decision to end all sponsorship deals that promote our brands on UK football shirts or on pitch-side advertising hoardings. However, there is more to be done and social responsibility and we will continue to work with other gambling companies and the Gambling Commission to raise operating standards.”