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Compliance Updates

UKGC: Systemic failings at Caesars Entertainment UK leads to the departure of three senior managers and sanctions of £13m

George Miller

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Caesars Entertainment leads to the departure of three senior managers and sanctions of £13m
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The UK Gambling Commission has announced that Caesars Entertainment UK Limited is to pay £13m and must implement a series of improvements following a catalogue of social responsibility, money laundering and customer interaction failures including those involving ‘VIPs’.

As a result of this investigation three senior managers at the company surrendered their personal licences.

The Regulator’s investigations into Personal Management Licence holders are ongoing.

The land-based gambling business, which operates 11 casinos across Britain, will pay the money following an investigation by the Commission which found serious systematic failings in the way the company took decisions about VIP customers between January 2016 and December 2018.

Social responsibility failings included:

  • Inadequate interaction with a customer who was known to have previously self-excluded and lost £240,000 over a 13-month period
  • Inadequate interaction with a customer who lost £323,000 in a 12-month period and had displayed signs of problem gambling which included 30 sessions exceeding five hours
  • A customer allowed to lose £18,000 in a year despite identifying herself as a self-employed nanny and informing staff that her savings had been spent, and that she was borrowing money from family and using an overdraft facility to fund gambling activities
  • Inadequate interaction with, and source of funds checks on, a customer who identified as a retired postman and lost £15,000 in 44 days.

Money laundering failings included:

  • The operator not carrying out adequate source of funds checks on a customer who was allowed to drop around £3.5 million and lose £1.6 million over a period of three months.
  • The operator not obtaining adequate evidence of source of funds for a politically exposed person (PEP) who lost £795,000 during a 13-month period
  • The operator not carrying out enhanced customer due diligence (ECDD) checks on a consumer who lost £240,000 over a 13-month period
  • The operator not carrying out adequate source of funds checks on a customer who identified as a waitress and was allowed to buy-in £87,000 and lose £15,000 during a 12-month period.

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We have published this case at this time because it’s vitally important that the lessons are factored into the work the industry is currently doing to address poor practices of VIP management in which we must see rapid progress made.

“The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company and Caesars failed to do this. We will now continue to investigate the individual licence holders involved with the decisions taken in this case.

“In recent times the online sector has received the greatest scrutiny around VIP practices but VIP practices are found right across the industry and our tough approach to compliance and enforcement will continue, whether a business is on the high street or online.

“We are absolutely clear about our expectations of operators – whatever type of gambling they offer they must know their customers. They must interact with them and check what they can afford to gamble with – stepping in when they see signs of harm.  Consumer safety is non-negotiable.”

All £13m from this case will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

The action against Caesars is the latest in a line of tough regulatory action by the Commission.

Since January the Commission has suspended the operating licences of Stakers Limited, Addison Global Limited, and Multi Media International Limited.

So far this year regulatory action has led to the industry paying £27 million in penalty packages. This includes £11.6 million for Betway and £3 million for Mr Green.

Read public statement about Caesars Entertainment here.

 

Source: UKGC

Compliance Updates

Norway’s Stortinget Passes Gambling Advertising Amendment

Niji Narayan

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Norway’s Stortinget Passes Gambling Advertising Amendment
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The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) has approved a legislative amendment aimed at preventing offshore gambling operators from advertising their services to consumers in the country via the internet.

The amendment grants the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) the power to order internet service providers and media companies to prevent access to illegal marketing.

“This [amendment] will reduce the scope of gambling advertising, and may in turn help reduce the number of problem gamblers,” Abid Q. Raja, Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, said.

“[Previously] we have not had the necessary tools to enforce the advertising ban on foreign operators. But with this provision, the Media Authority is empowered to impose a duty on internet owners and distributors to prevent access to advertising for illegal gambling,” Raja added.

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Compliance Updates

Sweden’s Spelinspektionen Submits Match-fixing Regulations for EC Approval

Niji Narayan

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Sweden’s Spelinspektionen Submits Match-fixing Regulations for EC Approval
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has submitted new rules on match fixing to the country’s National Board of Trade, for the board to notify the European Commission of the changes, and has conducted an impact assessment of the rules.

The new rules would limit betting to the top four divisions of football. Also, betting on Swedish Cup would be limited to matches featuring teams from the top four tiers. Markets for matches involving foreign clubs would only be permitted when each participating team is from the top four tiers of each country’s footballing pyramid. Operators would only be able to take bets on international matches from under-21 level upwards.

Last month, when it announced the plans to ban betting on lower-league matches, Spelinspektionen also proposed banning betting on training matches or friendlies entirely, but opted to continue to allow international friendlies.

In addition, betting must not be offered in the event of a rule violation such as a yellow card or penalty in football, while betting must not be offered on individual performance of anyone under 18 years of age.

Also, licensees will be required to produce annual reports on potential match-fixing activity.

The new rules on match fixing can only take effect after the EU Commission has given its opinion, which takes just over three months. Spelinspektionen said the rules could come into effect no earlier than the end of 2020.

“Match fixing is considered as one of the biggest threats to sports today and as a result of this as well against betting and the companies that provide betting. There are, as far as can be judged, great risks in offering bets on games at low divisions in football,” Spelinspektionen said.

“Monitoring from both sports federations and the media is lower and the athletes do not make money and are thus more vulnerable. There is also a risk of athletes or whole associations coming in contact with match fixing at lower levels and then taking the problem up through the pyramid with any sporting success,” it added.

Spelinspektionen also said it was aware of the risk that the restrictions could apply in encouraging more players to play on unlicensed sites.

“The unlicensed gaming market is never further away than a click on your computer or phone,” it said.

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Australia

Australia’s ACMA Moves to Block 10 More Illegal Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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Australia’s ACMA Moves to Block 10 More Illegal Gambling Websites
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block 10 more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites to be blocked are Grand Fortune Casino, Raging Bull Casino, True Blue Casino, Free Spin, Two Up Casino, BoVegas, Cherry Gold Casino, Slots Empire, Red Dog Casino and Wild Joker.

ACMA received over 30 complaints about these services that are accessible in Australia. ACMA’s investigations found that these sites breach the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

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