The British gambling group Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, has been ordered to pay a fine of £17 million (more than €20 million) in the UK for not complying with legislation on safe gambling and anti-money laundering.
This is the biggest fine ever imposed by the UK Gambling Commission, according to the German news agency, DPA.
Proceeds from the fine will go directly to social projects, the regulator announced. To continue offering its gambling services in the United Kingdom, the company must also draw up a so-called “improvement plan.”
The breaches at Entain were “completely unacceptable,” the UK Gambling Commission said. "Operators are reminded they must never place commercial considerations over compliance. "
For example, there was only one chat conversation with an online customer who gambled as much as £230,845 over an 18-month period, the Commission added.
Customers who bet large sums, including someone who deposited £742,000 in about a year, were not required to prove where the money came from. One customer staying in social housing was able to gamble up to £186,000 in six months.
Moreover, this was the second time the company had broken the rules on safe, crime-free gambling.
"They 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," the Commission said. "We expect better, and consumers deserve better."
Entain responded that a settlement had been reached with the commission to close the case and avoid further, possibly costly, proceedings. The company also said the breaches occurred between December 2019 and October 2020, and that it had since adjusted its procedures.