Caesars Entertainment Gets Record Fine for Letting Problem Gamblers Blow Millions at UK Properties
Posted on: April 2, 2020, 11:58h.
Last updated on: April 2, 2020, 12:17h.
Caesars UK division has accepted a fine of £13 million ($16 million USD) following a UK Gambling Commission investigation which found the operator had allowed known problem gamblers to lose millions at its casinos.
It’s the largest fine the UKGC has ever imposed on an operator, breaking a record set less than a month ago when the regulator hit online betting operator Betway with an £11.6 million ($14.3 million USD) penalty. It suggests the UKGC is ramping up enforcement against rule-breakers at a time when the commission itself has been criticized by politicians as “not fit for purpose.”
It’s not the first time Caesars has been punished by the UKGC.
Caesars operates the Empire Casino, the Sportsman, and the Playboy Club in London’s West End, as well as several regional casinos. All gaming establishments in the country are currently shuttered because of the coronavirus.
While not naming specific casinos, the commission said Thursday that Caesars had failed to stop two gamblers who had previously self-excluded from collectively losing over £550,000 in a year.
In one case, it failed to check the source of funds for a customer who gambled with £3.5 million ($4.3 million) and lost £1.6 million ($2 million) in a three-month period.
It also failed check the source of funds for a patron who had given her profession as “waitress,” but had been permitted play with £87,000 ($107,000) and lose £15,000 ($18,500) in one year.
The UKGC said that three Caesars managers, who no longer work for the company, had lost their personal gambling licenses because of the investigation.
The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company, and Caesars failed to do this,” said Neil McArthur, UKGC chief executive. “We will now continue to investigate the individual license holders involved with the decisions taken in this case.”
Bonus Scheme Clampdown
The UKGC action comes a day after the regulator announced plans to prohibit under 25 year olds from signing up to VIP bonus schemes with internet gaming companies and to toughen regulations on online advertising.
The UK gambling industry has faced a political backlash over the past few years. But this has been directed almost solely towards the online gaming and land-based betting industries, of which there is a large crossover of operators.
But the UKGC reminded the country’s land-based operators Wednesday that they, too, will be held to account.
“In recent times the online sector has received the greatest scrutiny around VIP practices. But VIP practices are found right across the industry and our tough approach to compliance and enforcement will continue, whether a business is on the high street [brick and mortar] or online,” McArthur said.
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