The UKGC had been investigating Ladbrokes for a while and had found that between November 2015 and October 2017 the company had failed to have effective safeguards to prevent gambling harm and money laundering. The lack of attention to this continued after the company had merged becoming Ladbrokes Coral Group.
The financial penalty is made up of two charges, with the first being €5.3 million for the initial failures along with a fine €1.2 million to account for the profits made from the customers who had gambled during this period. The commission continued - “GVC will also review the top 50 customers for the years 2015-2017 to consider whether any further failings can be identified, and if so they will divest themselves of profit accordingly. GVC has committed to making a number of improvements to the business including overhauling its responsible gaming and customer interaction processes, retraining staff, and hiring new staff
The Commission Executive Director, Richard Watson said - “Decision-makers at gambling businesses need to invest in the welfare of their customers and the integrity of money being gambled with. These were systemic failings at a large operator which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing through the business and this is unacceptable.”
The call is thought to come from GPA’s efforts to follow on from the rules that have recently been implemented into the UK’s sports industry. Sports betting operators in the country voluntarily agreed to stop advertising during live sporting events both before and during the games.
Last year, the GPA launched an awareness campaign called “Reduce the Odds” which was to protect the Gaelic Games integrity. “The campaign aims to inform all members of the Association’s rules relating to gambling, highlight research identifying athletes as an at-risk group in relation to problem gambling, signpost persons in need of help to support services available in Ireland
When the announcement of the awareness campaign was first published, John Horan said - “Gambling and sport is a societal issue in the modern world. The wellbeing of our members and the integrity of our games are paramount to the GAA. The Association has made significant strides in recent years to preserve both. We hope that his campaign offers our clubs and members the resources necessary to continue that work at grassroots level.”
The list was a combination of two, coming from the Intercantonal Lottery and Betting Commission (Comlot) and the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB). Moving forward, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be expected to block all websites that are found on the list, with a total of 65 domains. Many household, European names make up the list including Bet365 and Pinnacle.
There were a number of operators who in anticipation, removed themselves from the Swiss market. GVC Holding sites, such as Bwin left at the start of the year, with William Hill leaving in June after doing their best to hold onto their Swiss players for as long as they could
In the future, if these operators are looking for their way back into the Swiss market, they will need to keep a good reputation in the country. Those who are found to maintain lawful for five years will become eligible for partnerships and re-introduction into Switzerland. However, this does involve the operators keeping their hands clean, preventing the countries players from accessing their casinos, even through VPNs.
Before the end of September it’s said that comeon.com, getlucky.com and mobilenet.com along with many other ComeOn operator sites will exit the UK. The CEO, Lahcene Merzoug claims this is in order to “focus on more favourable markets.” He continues, the “U.K. is a very mature and highly competitive market and the financial risks are big. We have never had a non-compliance breach, but we’ve seen competitors being fined big numbers and that creates uncertainty.”
Beginning September 23rd, ComeOn will no longer accept players who are from the UK. Following this, on the 27th of September, the accounts will be closed and customers will be given two days to withdraw their funds. Once these two days have passed, the procedure to withdraw funds will be difficult
Lahcene Merzoug added that “The U.K.-license has lost its symbolic value. Before you almost had to have one to be looked upon as a credible company. Today we hold licenses in many European countries and given that the U.K. has never been a big market for us, it’s a wise move to put our focus elsewhere.”
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