Entain to pay £17m after failing to meet rules on safer and crime-free gambling

The case is the Gambling Commission’s largest ever enforcement action.

17 August 2022

Gambling group Entain is to pay £17 million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures in the Gambling Commission’s largest ever enforcement action.

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 directed towards socially responsible purposes as part of a regulatory settlement, the regulator said.

Additional licence conditions will also ensure a business board member oversees an improvement plan, and that a third-party audit to review its compliance with licence conditions and codes of practice takes place within 12 months.

Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes 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 included being slow or failing to minimise certain customers’ risk of harms associated with gambling.

The regulator said 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.

Anti-money laundering failures included allowing online customers to deposit large amounts without carrying out sufficient source of funds checks, with one consumer allowed to deposit £742,000 in 14 months without appropriate source-of-funds checks.

Another, who was known to live in social housing, was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months without sufficient checks.

The enforcement case comes amid delays to the release of the long-awaited gambling White Paper, thought to be postponed again until after a new prime minister takes office.

Restrictions on the industry were widely expected to be announced last month as part of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act amid concerns that regulations require changes to accommodate the growth of online betting.

But advisers to Boris Johnson reportedly concluded that it could not be published until a new leader of the Conservative Party was elected to replace him as prime minister.

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