The UK Gambling Commission have been keeping a very close eye on operators to ensure they are being compliant. There is no doubt that the gambling industry has been under fire recently and ensuring that advertising materials and procedures are up to scratch is a priority for the UKGC. They have been reviewing processes incredibly carefully to make sure that brands are taking the necessary precautions in terms of responsible gambling.
The latest operator to be under the spotlight is Leo Vegas. Their operator license was under review by the UKGC and they decided to fine them £600,000. On top of this, they were also asked to pay for the review itself.
About the Penalty
In reference to the LeoVegas penalty – the CEO Neil McArthur stated that this should be a warning sign for operators that they should be making sure a close eye is kept on brands licensing conditions and compliance. He also stated that if they find that any brand is using misleading advertisements or marketing materials – appropriate action will be taken.
When it came to Leo Vegas – the UK Gambling Commission found that there were 41 advertisements that featured content that was misleading to players. Another major concern was that these kinds of ads were sent to over 1,000 players who had actually self-excluded themselves from their brand at some point. When it came to players who had closed their accounts or chose to exclude themselves from the brand – there were over 11,200 people who didn’t receive the funds that they were due back.
The UKGC also felt that the appropriate procedures for players who had self-excluded themselves weren’t followed when they came back to play on the site. There were 413 players who had excluded themselves from Leo Vegas – and when they came back to play, the 24-hour cooling off period wasn’t put in place. On top of this, nobody from the customer service team contacted them in any way before they were back playing the games. This means they didn’t show the correct care and attention to the players as they should have.
We aren’t sure who will be next in the firing line for some UKGC penalties – but there has been a surge of brands who have faced hefty fees of late. GVC Holdings were fined a huge £350,000 in February of this year too. William Hill seem to be have received one of the largest fines – being hit with a huge £6.2 million. The UKGC had decided that there were massive failings in the system when it came to player protection in relation to money laundering. Gala Bingo also received a similar fate with a £2.3 miilion fine.
What Operators Should Take from This
It looks as if the UKGC are sending a clear message that they won’t tolerate any failings in systems, compliance or misleading advertisements. If operators want to ensure they are free of penalties and maintain their license – all policies and procedures will need to be followed by the letter. There will be no room for grey areas.