Belfast Telegraph

Ladbrokes fined £5.9m for 'systemic' failures in safeguarding

Watchdog chief: Richard Watson
Watchdog chief: Richard Watson

By Staff Reporter

Ladbrokes Coral Group has been hit with a £5.9m fine for "systemic failings" in its anti-money laundering and social responsibility safeguards.

The Gambling Commission said consumers had been harmed and stolen money had "flowed through" the firm due to "unacceptable" shortcomings.

An investigation by the commission between November 2014 and October 2017 found Ladbrokes and Coral failed to put in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and consumers suffering gambling harm, with these failures continuing after their merger as the Ladbrokes Coral Group.

Among the failings highlighted by the commission was an instance of Ladbrokes failing to carry out any social responsibility interactions with a customer who lost £98,000 over two-and-a-half years, had 460 attempted deposits into their account declined and even asked the operator to stop sending promotions.

Coral failed to check the source of funds used by a customer who spent £1.5m over two years and 10 months. The customer had displayed signs of problem gambling, including logging into their account an average of 10 times a day and losing £64,000 in one month alone.

Ladbrokes, having identified concerns with a customer, allowed further significant gambling without taking additional steps to verify the source of funds or consider if the customer could afford to spend and lose that amount of money.

Gambling 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.

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"These were systemic failings which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing through the business. This is unacceptable."

New owners GVC will pay £4.8m in lieu of a financial penalty and will divest £1.1m gained from customers as a result of these failings.

Belfast Telegraph