We reported on a number on occasions in the past several months that the UK Gambling Commission. In fact, in the last two months alone, two operators have been fined and required to pay amounts exceeding £10 million.
First, in March, Betway were fined £11.6 million, for failing to work in accordance with anti-money laundering provisions. The operator failed to carry out checks of funds for seven customers, including one who deposited over £8 million over the course of four years, while losing a total of over £4 million of these funds.
Earlier in April it was Caesars Entertainment that was on the receiving end of a hefty fine. Namely, this company was required to pay £13 million, after the Commission established that this operator failed to ensure all social responsibility and anti-money laundering procedures, especially when dealing with so-called VIP customers.
In total, in 2020 alone, operators have paid over £27 million in penalties. While that is a serious amount of money that the UKGC can use for a wide range of purposes, how the Commission spends these funds is another question that was raised.
Does the UKGC have clear procedures in place?
While the figure of £27 million this year alone sounds staggering, it should be noted that the total collected amount over the period of four and a half years comes up to an amount of almost £59 million.
The Commission took about £750,000 to cover its costs for the investigations that led to the findings. About £24 million were used to recompensate the victims of the alleged activities. Most of the funds, on the other hand, were used for socially responsible purposes, almost £35 million.
The UKGC is quite reluctant when it comes to publishing these figures, interested parties had to file an FOI request to obtain the report. But that’s not the most serious aspect of the matter. It seems that the UKGC doesn’t have a process in place which will enable us to ensure that they have allocated and spent the funds effectively, most importantly that the desired impact was delivered.
£27 million collected so far in 2020
Some have suggested that the UK Gambling Commission might actually be failing to uphold that particular level of standards and scrutiny when it comes to fund allocation that it expects from the operators. Every stakeholder will agree that financial resources are of extreme importance and it should be clearly demonstratable that they are spend in the most effective way as possible.
Nobody is suggesting that the Commission is involved in any sort of dodgy activities, it is just that there should be processes in place which will ensure that research, education and treatment are funded appropriately, and that people who had a gambling problem and the society as a whole are getting most of amount that the Commission obtains via fines, as well as its other sources of income.
We can be certain that 2020 will be a record year in terms of collected funds from penalties, considering that we’re less than four months into the year, and they have already collected a significant amount of money. We are yet to see how these funds will be used.