Why does Ladbrokes get to keep its licence?
Ladbrokes and its parent company Entain (which also owns Coral) are under fire after being fined a record breaking £17 million by the UK Gambling Commission.
It’s been uncovered that the sportsbetting operator has a pattern of failure to protect its customers or follow the rules of the UK gambling license, which the UKGC has branded “completely unacceptable”.
In order to run a casino in the UK, operators must follow strict regulation that is designed to protect players and prevent money laundering or other criminal activity.
Any player who deposits and loses more than £100 should be contacted by the operator, and an affordability check carried out. Can’t afford to reasonably play and spend that much on gambling? Your account is locked for safety concerns to reduce problem gambling.
How did Ladbrokes fail?
One Ladbrokes player was able to deposit more than £230,000 over 18 months without the check being carried out. In fact, over that 18 month period, the player was only contacted by Ladbrokes staff once.
Another example unearthed by the UKGC’s investigation showed a player deposit £186,000 in six months. One player who was banned from playing at Coral after failing to provide a source of funds was able to sign up to Ladbrokes and deposit £30,000 in one day.
In a particularly massive failing, a player was able to deposit £742,000 in just 14 months without any kind of source of funds check, which is a monumental amount money and a huge red flag for money laundering.
Third strike and they're out?
With so many examples of massive failings of Ladbrokes players and the operator’s responsibilities as a licence holder, how are Ladbrokes and Entain as a whole able to operate with a UKGC gambling licence still?
It seems like a failing on the UKGC’s part that a company can be handed the largest fine the UKGC has ever enforced, and yet still gets to continue on as normal after eating the fine, which is less than 4% of its £3.2 billion 2021 revenue.
UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes has stated that “[Entain] should be aware that we will be monitoring them very carefully and further serious breaches will make the removal of their licence to operate a very real possibility.”
However, why does a company who was previously fined £5.9 million back in 2019 for the exact same failings get a third chance to prove they can change, when they have proven that they are not responsible enough to hold a licence and have continuously put real people at risk?
In fact, the UKGC are failing the very players they are in place to protect by allowing Entain to continue operating, when the evidence is already stacked against them. Twice.