Regulator Issued Fines Top £44m in 2020
Regulators in several countries have issued fines that total over £44m in 2020, a figure that is 175% higher than the previous year. Fines were issued for breaches of regulations including servicing unauthorised transactions and VIP failings.
There has been a sharp increase in the value of fines that have been issued to gambling operators. In 2019, the total value of sports betting and casino operators fines were £16m. The 2020 figures of £44m represent a 175% increase with more operators being prosecuted and the value of fines increasing year-on-year.
The figures were compiled from data released from Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA), UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and in Australia via the NSW Liquor & Gaming Agency.
In January, the Malta Gaming Authority issued the first fine, stating Blackrock Media was servicing unauthorised transactions and ordered them to pay £2m. The UK Gambling Commission issued the highest fine of the year, fining Caesars Entertainment UK for VIP failings and ordering them to pay £13m. Betway is well-known by British punters, their fine of £11.6m was the second-highest-paid and was ordered due to social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures in its VIP practices.
Fines issued by MGA, SGA, UKGC & NSW Liquor & Gaming Agency in 2020;
- Boylesports Enterprise Fined £2,800,000 – Thursday 12th of November 2020, BoyleSports fined for Anti Money-Laundering failures.
- GAN PLC Fined £46,000 – Monday 28th of September 2020, £46,000 fine due to social responsibility, risk assessment and AML failures.
- NetBet Fined £748,000 – Monday 28th of September 2020, Inadequate AML controls and significant shortcomings for its responsible gambling policies and procedures.
- BGO Entertainment Fined £2,000,000 – Monday 28th of September 2020, Social responsibility and AML control failures.
- Glitnor Services Ltd, Fined £34,068 – Wednesday 20th of May 2020, Lucky Casino fined for unauthorised live casino online games.
- Triplebet Ltd Fined £740,000 – Wednesday 8th of April 2020, The regulator found systemic failings at Caesars Entertainment. The ruling led to the departure of three senior managers and sanctions of £13m.
- Kindred Group Fined £8,596,250 – Friday 20th of March 2020, offering customers financial incentives which are in breach of the new gambling legislation.
- Betway Fined £11,600,000 – Thursday 12th of March 2020, accepting stolen money from high-spending “VIP” customers. The regulator stated that some of which were displaying clear signs of gambling addiction.
- Mr Green Fined £3,000,000 – Thursday 27th of February 2020, “systemic failings” in its measures to stop money laundering and problem gambling.”
- GVC Australia Fined £106,773 – Friday 14th of February 2020, GVC owned Ladbrokes and Neds brands guilty of offering betting bonuses to people who opened new betting accounts
- Blackrock Media Fined £2,043,120 – Friday 10th of January 2020, the MGA and Malta’s Executive Police force”..”uncovered that Blackrock Media had processed payments to and from players as part of gaming services which were not duly authorised.
This year the trend of increased fines will likely continue as regulators continue their hardline stance with operators. PlayOJO brand SkillOnNet lost its appeal against the Swedish Gaming Authority (SGA) and faces a £1.18m penalty for violating bonusing rules dating back to June 2020.
In the UK, the Gambling Commission wrote to operators in November. It reminded them of customer interaction rules around affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. The Commission warned of action if operators were using the Covid crisis to benefit their businesses.