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Fines against gambling operators increase from £1.6m to £18m in a year

The Gambling Commission warned last year that it would be cracking down.

Fines against gambling operators in the UK have risen from £1.6 million to £18 million in a year as the regulator cracks down on money laundering and unfair practices.

The Gambling Commission issued the penalties over the year to April 1 following investigations involving anti-money laundering, customer interaction, self-exclusion by problem gamblers, unfair terms and practices, and marketing and advertising.

Last year, the regulator said it would be getting tougher on enforcement.

It said its new Enforcement Report, which summarises the investigations and highlights guidance, was a “call to action” to gambling chiefs to “lead a culture of compliance”.

Neil McArthur, who was appointed chief executive of the Gambling Commission earlier this year, said: “This is a call to action to the leaders of operators to set the tone from the top, to lead a culture of compliance that puts doing the right thing for your customers first, and to strive to continuously raise standards in your organisation.

“As a regulator, we will continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers.

“We expect operators will learn the lessons outlined in this report and that operator staff, management and their boards will use it as a guide to help decision-making and investment priorities.”

Operators which do not comply with the rules can be subject to a range of sanctions, including fines or the removal of their licence for a fixed period or indefinitely.

Last year betting firm 888 was given a record £7.8 million fine for failing to protect vulnerable customers.

Last week, online gambling operator 32Red was fined £2 million for failing to protect a problem gambler, while William Hill was slapped with a £6.2 million penalty package in February for breaching anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

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