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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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UKGC: Personal licence holders at Caesars Entertainment held to account
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

Baltics

Latvian Parliament Rejects Amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries

Niji Narayan

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Latvian Parliament Rejects Amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Latvian parliament has decided to reject amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries. The proposed amendments would have been used to limit gambling in the country.

These amendments were developed by members of the New Conservative Party and KPV LV. Saeima deputy Juris Jurašs urged other members of the parliament to support this legislative draft, commenting that about 80,000 people in Latvia suffer from gambling addiction and for 15,000 of them this problem is severe.

He believes the proposed amendments would become a small step towards forming a healthier society.

“Gambling halls in Latvia are a lasting disease that certain people rich, it needs to be treated,” he said.

Jurašs stressed in particular that the gambling situation is critical. After the parliament had rejected the legislative draft Saeima deputy Krišjānis Feldmans from New Conservative Party wrote on his Twitter profile that Attīstībai/Par! political party is a plague for Latvian politics, commenting how the party voted against limiting gambling.

35 Saeima deputies voted in favour of passing the draft to the Budget and Finance Committee, 15 voted against and 27 deputies abstained. And so the legislative draft was rejected somehow.

The annotation mentions that the purpose of the proposed amendments is limiting the number of gambling locations in Latvia and reducing the negative effect gambling has on public health and people in general.

The legislative draft explains that people who participate in gambling and lotteries are subjected to an excessive addiction risk. Gambling addiction or a pathological need to engage in gambling is characterised with frequent gambling episodes, which quickly become the person’s main point of interest, impacting his or her social, professional, and family values, as well as negatively impacting his or her finances.

According to the study performed by SKDS in 2016, 26% of respondents who engaged in gambling in the past 12 months admitted having situations when gambling took over so much of their life that the outside world ceased to exist to them for some time.

The legislative draft also proposed making it so that casinos would be permitted only in four or five-star hotels in Latvia.

The annotation mentions that studies show that localization or limitation of gambling halls and casinos is one of the ways to limit and reduce problematic gambling habits.

It was also planned to impose a limit on open hours of gambling halls.

Deputies also proposed prohibiting alimony avoiders from engaging in gambling. The Maintenance Guarantee Fund Law already provides multiple restrictions for debtors to motivate them to fulfil their duties – pay alimony and provide their children with finances.

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Compliance Updates

Zlatan Ibrahimovic “Facing Three-year Ban” That Would End Career Amid Investment Allegations

Niji Narayan

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic “Facing Three-year Ban” That Would End Career Amid Investment Allegations
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

AC Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career is at risk as he could face a three-year ban due to his association with a betting company, according to reports in his native Sweden.

Ibrahimovic’s Stockholm-based company Unknown AB owns 10% of the shares of Bethard, a gambling site with offices in Malta.

That’s according to Aftonbladet, while the Swedish Football Association has been aware of the potential problem brewing for three years.

The report claims this is why Ibrahimovic was left out of Sweden’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, when a return to the national side was mooted, despite having retired from international duty two years earlier.

Now it’s claimed that FIFA and UEFA are finally preparing to intervene and make an example of the ex-Manchester United striker.

Neither FIFA nor UEFA allow players who feature in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies.

But Ibrahimovic may have breached these rules during AC Milan’s Europa League qualifier with Shamrock Rovers in September 2020 and Sweden’s World Cup qualifier with Georgia last month, after he returned to the national team set-up.

His involvement with Bethard could be punished with a substantial fine and a three-year ban by FIFA which, given the Swede is 39, could spell the end for his career.

UEFA’s punishments are less clear, while Aftonbladet approached both governing bodies for a comment but were refused one.

The Swedish newspaper claims Ibrahimovic’s company is the fourth-largest owner in Bethard, which made a post-tax profit of £25.79 million in 2019.

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Compliance Updates

Camelot to Enforce 18+ Age Restriction on UK National Lottery Products from April 22

Niji Narayan

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Camelot to Enforce 18+ Age Restriction on UK National Lottery Products from April 22
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Camelot Group has announced that it will enforce an 18+ age restriction on all its UK National Lottery products from April 22, six months ahead of the UK Government’s October deadline to introduce the measure.

From that date, anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be able to purchase any of the national lottery operator’s products, whether that be online or in a retail environment.

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced last December that it would be raising the minimum age to play the lottery from 16 to 18 years following the release of its “Review of the Gambling Act 2005 Terms of Reference and Call for Evidence” policy paper.

Originally, online lottery sales to under-18s were to be banned first from April, with a deadline of implementation across retail by October 2021, but now Camelot has acted to enforce the age limit across all verticals sooner than required.

A Camelot spokesperson said: “From 22 April 2021, players must be 18 or over to play National Lottery games online, in-store and on the app. This is in line with the government’s decision to raise the legal minimum age to play The National Lottery, which we fully support.

“Encouraging healthy play is at the heart of everything we do. Remember, you can set limits for the amount you deposit and spend each week, moderate your Instant Win Games play limit or even take a break from playing.”

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