Gambling Operators Paid £19.6M In Fines Last Year

Viktor Vangelov | Published 28 Jun 2019, 1:50 p.m.

There were so many stories of companies getting fined for not working in accordance with the rules and regulations last year. Figures show that operators had to pay fines totalling £19.6 million, mainly for not upholding customers protection standards and not adhering to anti-money laundering regulations.

The UK Gambling Commission found that punters were permitted to gamble away large amounts of money in short periods of time, i.e. they were wagering more than what they can afford to lose, and operators, in those cases, did nothing to prevent that. Just go through our News section and you will see numerous reports on these issues.

For instance, earlier this month we reported on the £1.2 million fine for Gamesys for failing to stop gambling induced harm and breaching money laundering regulations. The Labour Party recently proposed the introduction of a new position – Gambling Ombudsman who would take on the role to tackle predatory practices and work closely with the Gambling Commission and the NHS to tackle problem gambling and issues that arise from it.

Gambling operators have been accused of not contributing, as many companies failed to meet the voluntary donations threshold which was set at 0.1% of their profit, with some operators donating only as little as £5 or £10, just so they could get their names onto the donations list. So, some of the largest operators proposed to increase the voluntary donation contribution to 1%, but the proposal received mixed reactions.

Daub Alderney Was Hit With A £7.1 Million Fine

We already mentioned that the total amount that UK operators were required to pay - £19.6m, but out of this amount, Daub Alderney was hit with almost 40% - £7.1 million. This operator runs a number of sites, including Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo. Paddy Power Betfair is another industry giant that was hit with a serious fine - £2.2 million.

A representative of the UKGC stated all these examples of companies not intervening when their customers obviously spend beyond what they can afford to lose show that more should be done to deal with problem gambling.

The amount may seem significant, but it is actually only 0.13% of the total industry profit. The profit figure was a staggering £14.5 billion. If you want to put the 19.6 million figure in another perspective – it is just 1.6% of the total amount that gambling-related harm costs the country annually.

Good Practices Need To Be Promoted

The amount paid by the operators was divided - £13 million went straight to the treasury, whereas the rest was used as compensation for players and others. The amount last year was £18.4 million, whereas the year before companies only paid £1.7 million. Research has shown that most operators generate large fractions of their profits from a small proportion of players, which encouraged even more campaigners to call for stricter controls and rules regarding problem gambling.

There have been complaints that the self-exclusion system isn’t really working properly. More than 1.5 million people have excluded themselves and in more than 135,000 occasions they were still permitted to make a wager. Almost 1,800 players have complained about on the lack of enforcement of the self-exclusion scheme.

The Commission has conducted over 160 investigations into the conduct of multiple companies. The Commission has noted that there are improvements and good practices, but a lot needs to be done to ensure that these practices are further developed.