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Warning Shots Fired

Last week Ladbrokes owner, Entain was ordered to pay £17m after they failed to implement sufficient checks in order to support struggling customers. The Gambling Commission said the actions of the firm were ‘completely unacceptable’.


The Gambling Commission, a governmental agency that supervises gambling laws in the UK, investigated Entain and identified a series of serious failures, most notably their lack of support for those struggling with debt.


One customer account reported by the BBC[1], told of a customer who had gambled throughout the night. In an eighteen-month period, that same customer had deposited over eighteen thousand pounds in their online account, with only one communication from the company in an online chat.


An additional failing was the ability to open multiple accounts under the Entain umbrella. Entain not only owned Ladbrokes, but also Coral, a notable gambling firm. Another customer, albeit blocked from using Coral because they had spent £60,000 in 12 months (and failed to provide Source of Funds (SOF) and was immediately able to open another account with Ladbrokes and deposited £30,000 on the same day[2].


The industry regulator has since pointed out that this is the second time the group has fallen short of their regulatory requirements and enforced an improvement plan and third-party review audit to ensure Entain’s compliance with the relevant licencing conditions and codes of practice.


Albeit not the first fine received in the gambling industry for such failings, the size of the fine, in addition to explicitly naming Entain, is a warning call to firms alike, in addition to those in the property sector, (industries considered ‘higher risk’) that the regulators are determined to crack down on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) breaches and it acts as a poignant reminder of the reputational damage that could occur.


With gambling more prevalent than ever, many firms are unaware of their financial regulatory obligations and how to effectively implement them. Lysis Group has the skills and expertise to help firms to understand:


  • What the relevant regulatory requirements are.

  • To execute a gap analysis on current policies and procedures.

  • To assist in the execution of remedial actions.

  • To review and provide guidance as to governance, systems, and controls of the firm; and

  • To provide advice and support to senior management regarding meetings and other communication with the regulator.


 

Lauren Parmenter


Senior Consultant


[1] Ladbrokes owner Entain to pay £17m for breaching rules - BBC News [2] Ladbrokes owner Entain to pay £17m for breaching rules - BBC News

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