UKGC Levies Record Fine Against Caesars Entertainment
We’ve often told you that online casino regulators are there to protect their players, but often the actions of regulators go unnoticed. This time around, the UK Gambling Commission has issued a records-setting penalty to one of the world’s largest gambling companies.
Last week, the UKGC announced a £13 million against Caesars Entertainment after the company failed to protect problem gamblers and failed to adhere to money laundering regulations.
Caesars Violates Money Laundering and Problem Gambling Rules
On Thursday, The Guardian reported that the UK Gambling Commission has fined Caesars Entertainment a record £13 million. The fine is for various failures related to both protecting problem gamblers and money laundering. This penalty comes less than a month after the Commission fined Betway a then-record £11.6 million.
According to the UKGC, Caesars has multiple failures in its treatment of VIP players. Some of those failures include the following:
- Allowing a player to lose £323,000 in a year despite showing signs of gambling addiction.
- Permitting a player on the self-exclusion list to play again and lose over £240,000 over 13 months.
- Allowing a player to continue gambling even after learning that the player was borrowing from family and overdrawing her accounts to gamble.
- Permitting a retired postman to lose £15,000 in less than two months without verifying his funding source.
— Gambling Commission (@GamRegGB) April 2, 2020
The Commission also found Caesars guilty of preventing potential money laundering. These violations include:
- Allowing a player to wager £3.5 million over three months without verifying their funding source.
- Permitting a politically exposed person to gamble. That person lost over £795,000 over the course of a year.
In addition to the record fine, three senior managers at Caesars have lost their licenses with the UKGC. This prevents them from operating an online gambling business in the UK.
Caesars commented on the findings, stating that it, “acknowledges falling short of its standards and accepts the settlement reached with the British Gambling Commission,
Since discovering, immediately addressing, and reporting deficiencies in 2018, we have enhanced our compliance policies and procedures and are complying with the license conditions and commission’s guidance for best practice. We are confident of the efficacy of our compliance initiatives going forward.”
Findings Will Likely Help UKGC in Their Quest Against VIP Schemes
It is no secret that the UKGC has been looking to ban or severely limit VIP schemes. In a report from January, the Commission found that VIP systems focus on players who are more likely to be problem gamblers. They found that one casino was taking 83% of their deposits from VIP players. VIP players represented 2% of the player base at that casino.
— Gambling Commission (@GamRegGB) March 27, 2020
Regarding the recent violations from Caesars, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur stated, “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.”
These types of findings will certainly give the Commission added leverage for enacting new and stricter rules regarding VIP programs. Note, that when we refer to VIP programs, we are referring to those programs that reward high-volume or high-rolling players. We aren’t talking about casinos that dub their rewards program a VIP program.
New rules would effectively eliminate true VIP programs in their present form. It may eliminate them altogether. While this won’t impact lower-tier players, which is the majority of players, it will have a huge impact on high-volume players. It will also impact the bottom line of casinos as VIP players will likely go play at casinos not regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
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