Ladbrokes Coral Group to pay £5.9m for safeguard failings

  • Updated
  • By Phil Blackwell
GVC Safeguard Payment
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Ladbrokes Coral Group has been ordered to pay a total of £5.9m for failing to enact effective safeguards to prevent consumers suffering gambling harm and against money laundering.

Following an investigation by the UK Gambling Commission, both Ladbrokes and Coral were separately found to be in breach of regulations between November 2014 and October 2017, with failings continuing after their subsequent merger as the Ladbrokes Coral Group.

A series of improvement measures must now be implemented by GVC Holdings which acquired the group in March 2018.

GVC is also liable for the financial penalties consisting of £4.8m in lieu of a financial penalty and the divestment of £1.1m gained from customers as a result of the failings.

Richard Watson, commission executive director at the Gambling Commission, said: “Decision makers at gambling businesses need to invest in the welfare of their customers and the integrity of money being gambled with.

“These were systemic failings at a large operator which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable.”

According to a report on the Gambling Commission’s website, the social responsibility and anti money laundering failings led to the following:

  • Ladbrokes failed to conduct social responsibility interactions with a customer who lost £98,000 over two-and-a-half years, had 460 attempted deposits into their account declined, and even asked the operator to stop sending promotions.
  • Despite one customer spending £1.5m over two-years 10 months, Coral did not ask the customer to evidence their source of funds and could not provide evidence of any social responsibility interactions being carried out.
  • Ladbrokes could not provide any evidence of carrying out social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited over £140,000 in the first four months of their account being open.
  • Ladbrokes, having identified concerns with a customer, then allowed further significant gambling without taking additional steps to verify the source of funds or consider if the customer could afford to spend and lose that amount of money.

GVC chief executive, Kenneth Alexander, told the BBC:

“These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.

“I am confident that we now have in place a robust and industry-leading approach to player protection.”

The Gambling Commission is still making enquiries into the role Personal Management Licence holders played in these failures.

Read the full Gambling Commission statement here.

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