Ladbrokes owner Entain fined record £17m over social responsibility and money laundering failures
The gambling watchdog whacked the betting shop owner Entain with record £17m this morning over “completely unacceptable” anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.
The Gambling Commission said the Ladbrokes and Coral owner repeatedly failed to protect problematic gamblers from betting huge sums in their shops and online casinos.
The commission said the firm let blocked customers open multiple accounts to avoid their bans as it repeatedly failed to escalate concerns around potentially problematic customers.
The Isle of Man headquartered firm failed to carry out proper risk assessments to ensure its services were not being used for money laundering and terrorist financing, the watchdog said.
Gambling Commission chief Andrew Rhodes noted that this was the “second time” Entain has “fallen foul” of the regulator, after the watchdog hit it with a £5.9m fine in 2019. Rhodes warned that “further serious breaches” could lead to the removal of the operator’s gambling license.
In a statement, Entain said it accepted that certain legacy systems and processes were not in line with the evolving regulatory expectations, but that it found no evidence whatsoever of criminal spend within operations.
The news comes as the betting industry continues to brace itself for the gambling white paper.
The landmark review of the Gambling Act 2005 was initially expected in the Spring, but has been delayed on multiple occasions, with the recent political turbulence meaning it has been shelved until the Autumn at least.
The changes could mean that curbs are placed on how much players can bet, as well as affordability checks on punters, which industry bodies have deemed “draconian”.
Partner at Keystone Law and gambling expert Richard Williams told City A.M. that the repeated nature of Entain’s offences actually support calls for the government to intervene and impose more rigorous limits on gambling operators on these issues.