Ladbrokes to Pay a Penalty for Failing to Spot Problem Gambling Behavior

Ladbrokes coral is one of the biggest companies in the United Kingdom market, following the merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission ordered the newly-merged entity to pay a fine of 2.3 million English Pounds. The penalty is a result of the company failing to take action and to intervene to stop two problem gamblers. These two problem gamblers ended up losing more than 1.3 million English pounds of stolen cash on the website of the casino.

The fine was just mere days following the review of the government that included warnings to the internet gambling companies. The notice was regarding the tightening up of their control or facing stricter regulations. Following that review, the UKGC stated that it covered significant flaws in the dealings of the bookmaker regarding these two “high-spending” punters. One of the main reasons behind the fine was that one of the two entities “Gala Coral,” before the merger with Ladbrokes last year, vowed to work on identifying similar cases sooner after it received a penalty of 880k English Pounds last April.

The United Kingdom Commission Accuses Gala Coral of Negligence

The commission of the United Kingdom stated that the casino website of Gala Interactive, which is in Gibraltar should have been able to spot the clear signs of addiction of these two gamblers. In addition to that, the casino website failed to put in effect the policies and the procedures that could have spotted and stopped such addictive behavior.  One of the two punters lost a total of £837,545 over the course of fourteen months, while the other lost £432,765 in eleven months and both of them were using stolen cash. These two gamblers are in jail, the first one for taking money from an employer, and the other one got 4.5 years for using, possessing and acquiring criminal property.

Sarah Harrison Speaks Out Regarding the Issue

The CEO of the UKGC, Sarah Harrison stated that they would keep working on taking strict action whenever they see that the failure of the operators harming the consumers and the public. She also indicated that it is the operators’ responsibility to make sure that they are protecting the customers and they need to take action and step in whenever they see a behavior that indicates problem gambling.

She added that such thing did not happen in the case of these two gamblers and that the 2.3 million penalty package should be more than enough to serve as a strict warning to all of the operators in the industry.  Sarah Harrison has changed the way the UKGC runs the industry, as it has taken a much more strict standard when it comes to penalties and fines since it took over in October of 2015. Since then, the Commission handed out eight different sentences that amounted up to 16 million pounds. These sanctions include Betfred, 888, and Paddy Power Betfair.

The Penalty Package that Ladbrokes Coral Will Pay

The merged entity, Ladbrokes Coral, is going to pay 1.3 million pounds to the victims of the two gamblers, as well as one million pounds that will go to the research into the cause of the problem gambling behavior. The study, according to GambleAware, the leading gambling charity organization, does not have the funding that it truly needs. The gambling operator also volunteered to pay an additional amount of 200,000 pounds that will go towards the problem gambling research, in addition to the amount that the UKGC made the company pay.

Ladbrokes Coral Responds To the Penalty

The Chief Executive of the gambling operator, Jim Mullen, stated that running a gambling operation comes with the responsibility of ensuring that gambling takes place responsibly and safely. He added that whenever a part of the business fails to achieve that and fails to meet these requirements, it is only right for it to be held to account in return for that failure.

He added that in the cases at hand, that the commission reviewed, it was evident that during the operations of the company, the company did not meet the standards of the company itself, as well as the rules that the Gambling Commission of the United Kingdom demands. He added that the failures are evidence that there is a problem with the priority that the company gives to the changes in approach that can identify issues with such engagements. He also added that being public with such a failure is never a pleasant experience for an operator or any business. On the other hand, he believes that it is the right thing to do, so others in the industry can see the mistake, and its extent so they can learn from it, for the sake of the punters.

The Penalties that the UKGC Handed Out Since Harrison Took Over

In a recent review by the government regarding the gambling regulation, which made it to the public last week, the UK government urged the industry to speed up and improve the efforts that will address as well as identify problem gambling. The government also stated that legislative controls might be the next step, the current powers and regulations of the commission proved to be insufficient.

The penalties that the UKGC handed out since Harrison took office in 2005 include much more than the 2.3 million pounds that Gala Coral had to pay for failing to spot the problem gambling behaviors of the two customers. The penalties included a record fine of 7.8 million pounds that 888 had to pay. That fine was because of the company’s flaws in its self-exclusion program. Another fine was worth 300,000 pounds that BGO had to pay because of misleading promotions, which is the first ever penalty that relates to that topic. Other penalties included Camelot (3 million pounds), Betfred (800,000 pounds) and Futgalaxy (265,000 pounds) to mention a few.

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