Every online casino site operating in Great Britain has to be licenced by the UKGC. One of the powers of the UKGC is that if a casino is accused of having broken the terms and conditions of its licence, the UKGC can investigate and fine guilty parties for the breach. The majority of fines relation to player protection breaches, misleading advertising and money laundering, for which the UKGC cooperates with the UK Government under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations. Here are the five biggest fines thee UKGC has ordered against online casinos.
Caesars Entertainment UK – £13m
In April 2020, money laundering issues landed Caesars Entertainment Limited UK with a record £13 million fine. The UKGC fined the company for regulatory failings across its network of 11 live casinos in the UK, which includes The Empire in London. After investigation, Caesars Entertainment Limited UK was found guilty of extremely serious failings concerning social responsibility and money laundering.
The matter relates to a history of oversights regarding VIP customers improperly vetted or monitored over a two-year period. The UKGC found that between 2016 and 2018, Caesars Entertainment allowed a number of customers to wager when self-excluded or with unchecked funds, with one case involving bets worth £3.5 million.
Betway – £11.6m
In March 2020, online betting firm Betway was found guilty of handling illicit funds and was ordered to pay £11.6m in settlement. Betway did not adequately check the source of funds £5.8 million from seven high-spending VIP customers, in breach of money laundering rules, as well as the UKGC’s social responsibility guidelines since some players were displaying clear signs of gambling addiction.
Betway has since shut down its VIP programme. Half the fine will go to the victims of crimes committed by customers and a further £5.8m to fund the UKGC’s efforts to reduce gambling harm. The UKGC did not opt to use its power to suspend or revoke Betway’s licence to operate.
888 – £7.8 Million
In August 2017, the UKGC imposed a record £7.8 million on 888 after more than 7,000 people who had voluntarily banned themselves from the site were allowed to continue betting due to an avoidable technical error. The fine was imposed for the failure of 888 to protect vulnerable gambling customers and for “significant flaws” in its social responsibility procedures.
The regulatory commission noted that 888 allowed these customers to deposit up to £3.5 million over 13 months with one customer allowed to bet £1.3 million, £55,000 of which he had stolen from his employer. The employer was repaid, and £4.25 million was used to finance a socially responsible cause helping to tackle gambling problems.
Casumo – £5.85m / Videoslots – £1m / Daub Alderney – £7.1m
1n 2018, three online casino firms were fined almost £14m, in the largest enforcement action by the UKGC that uncovered failings in systems designed to prevent money-laundering and protect problem gamblers. Casumo was ordered to pay fines totalling £5.85m, Videoslots was fined £1m, and Daub Alderney was ordered to pay a £7.1m fine. CZ Holdings was also implicated in the case and agreed to surrender its license.
William Hill – £6.2m
In February 2018, William Hill, considered as one of the leading sport gambling websites of the industry, was fined £6.2 million by the UKGC. The company was accused of failing to prevent money laundering which left customers exposed since the company failed to spot or report obvious signs of problem gambling among its customers, thereby breaching social responsibility regulations. The UKGC also found that William Hill had allowed several customers to deposit money linked to criminal offences, thus breaching anti-money laundering regulations.
Gala Interactive – £2.3m
In November 2017, Gala Interactive, part of Ladbrokes Coral, was fined £2.3 million for its failure to control problem gambling behaviour of two gamblers who had stolen, gambled and lost £1.3 million between them. This fine would be used to pay back those who had money stolen from them by the two gamblers, who went on to be sentenced to several years in prison. The remaining £1 million was used to fund studies into gambling addiction.