32Red hit with £2m UKGC penalty (RG/ML regulations)

jasonuk

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Online gambling business 32Red has been penalised for not protecting a consumer from gambling-related harm and money laundering failures.

The Gambling Commission investigation focused on 32Red’s dealings with a customer who, between November 2014 and April 2017, they allowed to deposit £758,000 without carrying out social responsibility or money laundering checks.

It was revealed that during that time there were at least 22 incidents which indicated the customer was a problem gambler - but instead of checking if they needed help, 32Red gave them free bonuses.


The following quote is taken from the findings section (emphasis mine):
A review of the account was only performed in January 2017, as a result of unusual play suggestive of possible problem gambling (a seven-figure win, instantly replayed). The life time deposits (from November 2014) were now nearly £500,000. Following the review, a disclosure was made to the nominated officer and source of wealth requests were made of Customer A, but information was not received for a further 5 weeks despite continued play. The documentation supplied did not support the level of deposits but 32Red took no further action until the account was suspended in April 2017, by which life time deposits (from November 2014) were £758,000.
 

Jono777

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Can't say that without knowing the full story, minus the media hype!

Yes here I go again defending them but it could be something as innocent (or at least partly innocent) as a staff training issue, if that was the case 2M is a tad OTT.

Newspapers, TV coverage etc etc love to add their twist to these instances, Mr and Mrs "general public" will never know the true in's and out's of these situations, including the recent Leo Vegas fine also.

I feel there is a HUGE problem with the new UKGC guidelines, the first and foremost being that they themselves do not fully understand what they are asking for????
 

jasonuk

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@Jono777 I deliberately picked the UKGC report rather than media coverage for the reason you mentioned - avoid the hype, misunderstanding and misrepresentation.

I doubt "staff training" would be a suitable defence given there are systematic concerns over at least a three year period (regulated by UKGC)

32Red established a business relationship with Customer A from September 2011 and they were a top customer, with VIP status from February 2013.
... until the account was suspended in April 2017, by which life time deposits (from November 2014) were £758,000.
 

slotter999

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@Jono777 I deliberately picked the UKGC report rather than media coverage for the reason you mentioned - avoid the hype, misunderstanding and misrepresentation.

I doubt "staff training" would be a suitable defence given there are systematic concerns over at least a three year period (regulated by UKGC)

I was going to reply with something similar. There is no sensationalism in this story. To suggest otherwise is daft.
 

theapple

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Can't say that without knowing the full story, minus the media hype!

Yes here I go again defending them but it could be something as innocent (or at least partly innocent) as a staff training issue, if that was the case 2M is a tad OTT.

Newspapers, TV coverage etc etc love to add their twist to these instances, Mr and Mrs "general public" will never know the true in's and out's of these situations, including the recent Leo Vegas fine also.

I feel there is a HUGE problem with the new UKGC guidelines, the first and foremost being that they themselves do not fully understand what they are asking for????

yeah i also refuse to believe casinos would do such a thing! I also feel sorry for casinos because now they have rules to follow. BOOO UKGC. Down with them. I agree how casinos are in odd situation right now because for past decade rules were there for players to follow, and casinos were able to make their own rules so now having to follow UKGC or other comission rules must be a nightmare for them.

#freecasinos
 

colinsunderland

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Can't say that without knowing the full story, minus the media hype!

Yes here I go again defending them but it could be something as innocent (or at least partly innocent) as a staff training issue, if that was the case 2M is a tad OTT.

Newspapers, TV coverage etc etc love to add their twist to these instances, Mr and Mrs "general public" will never know the true in's and out's of these situations, including the recent Leo Vegas fine also.

I feel there is a HUGE problem with the new UKGC guidelines, the first and foremost being that they themselves do not fully understand what they are asking for????

RG rules aren't new though, and don't forget 32Red were widely criticized, both here and elsewhere, when they changed their policy regarding RG matters a while ago. I noticed in another thread recently they have been praised for making the changes so it's easier to SE again, wonder how many would give that same praise knowing now they probably only did it with the prospect of a £2m fine hanging over them.

If it was staff training, thats no excuse, in fact to me, it would make it worse, as thats something that should have been done properly from the start.

Don't forget there were 22 instances that the UKGC looked at that could have indicated problem gambling, but also there were many more before that. This isn't a customer who got pissed off and sent an email once cos he lost, it was someone who showed numerous signs that he could have a problem over a number of years. 32Reds RG solution was to give him a bonus.

He also supplied payslips showing his net monthly income as £13k, whereas his deposits were £45k, and his actual income was £2150, something that could have easily been checked further by googling the average salary for his type of job.

Not sure how this can be defended to be honest, especially considering the fact 32Red fully admitted they were wrong. Maybe they should have listened to the members on here :)
 

Jono777

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Ok all who have quoted me, points taken and yes I only briefly read and didn't fully digest the UKGC related post in the OP before making the post above.

Partially defending, no one is truly innocent, including these "problem gamblers" - I've said before part of a problem gambler solution lies in the problem gamblers hands yet the casino (in general not just this instance) always cops the full brunt of the blame not to mention the fines etc etc etc.

Maybe 32 Red for all their positives are not entirely blameless and I am not entirely perfect either. As I say we will only ever truly know what they WANT us to know, whether direct from the UKGC or from the media.

It is for what it is worth only my opinion, Maybe I am made of stone at times and this will come across as very harsh to some but I have very little time for these "problem gamblers" when I have been slotting online since 2003, gambling in general since 1990 and managed to know where to draw the line all this time. Especially for those who won't help themselves, maybe this is the case in this particular instance, maybe not?
 

colinsunderland

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Ok all who have quoted me, points taken and yes I only briefly read and didn't fully digest the UKGC related post in the OP before making the post above.

Partially defending, no one is truly innocent, including these "problem gamblers" - I've said before part of a problem gambler solution lies in the problem gamblers hands yet the casino (in general not just this instance) always cops the full brunt of the blame not to mention the fines etc etc etc.

Maybe 32 Red for all their positives are not entirely blameless and I am not entirely perfect either. As I say we will only ever truly know what they WANT us to know, whether direct from the UKGC or from the media.

It is for what it is worth only my opinion, Maybe I am made of stone at times and this will come across as very harsh to some but I have very little time for these "problem gamblers" when I have been slotting online since 2003, gambling in general since 1990 and managed to know where to draw the line all this time. Especially for those who won't help themselves, maybe this is the case in this particular instance, maybe not?

Surely the fact 32Red admitted it is a clear indication they were wrong? Mark can easily come on and refute the UKGC claims if its not true.

As far as the customer is partly to blame, well yes, in a perfect world, but the rules are there to protect problem gamblers, people who have problems controlling their gambling. If I nip to the shop and leave my window unlocked, come back and find I've been burgled, that isn't my fault. There are laws there to protect householders, if someone breaks them, they get punished, it isn't the householders fault, just as in this case, the rules are there to protect gamblers, if the casino breaks them, they get punished.

There are obviously cases where a gambler is trying it on, trying to get deposits back when circumventing policies to stop them playing somewhere, but in this particular case, there seems to have been clear indications that something wasn't right. Even forgetting the average salary was massively lower than the (presumably fake) payslips showed, he was depositing £30k a month more than the affordability checks showed.
 

Casinomeister

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The UK is a nanny state that encourages people to blame others for their own problems. Like Max mentioned - the UKGC has an axe to grind and this is a clear example of this. This is the UKGC's version - protecting players from themselves. I just wish they would spend more time and efforts on tracking down operators who are taking UK bets without a UK license. It doesn't take a super sleuth to figure out who these rogues are; 15-20 minutes of Google searches will pretty much lay these out bare. That is where the real dodginess lies - not with the likes of 32Red and Kindred.
 

BrianGhattas

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I find it pretty sad that casinos would rather be fined for allowing “self-excluded” gamblers to continue playing on their sites than be fined for a lesser thing such as allowing Canadians to play slots they shouldn’t. Just shows you how ridiculous it all is.
 

colinsunderland

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The UK is a nanny state that encourages people to blame others for their own problems. Like Max mentioned - the UKGC has an axe to grind and this is a clear example of this. This is the UKGC's version - protecting players from themselves. I just wish they would spend more time and efforts on tracking down operators who are taking UK bets without a UK license. It doesn't take a super sleuth to figure out who these rogues are; 15-20 minutes of Google searches will pretty much lay these out bare. That is where the real dodginess lies - not with the likes of 32Red and Kindred.

Not saying there aren't failings elsewhere, but are you saying there shouldn't be protection for problem gamblers?
 

maxd

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Of course that's not what he's saying. You should -- and I'm sure you do -- know better than to suggest such a thing.

Look at this case in relation to all the other BS that is going on out there. 32Red is and always has been fully legit, legal, above board and straight-forward in their dealings. Like most people I'm not in love with some of their policies but BFD, overall they are a good and trustworthy shop.

They are also very much a sitting duck for the UKGC because the UKGC knows damn well that the books are open and that 32Red will be fully cooperative with anything the UKGC wants of them. So who better to nail than a casino you know won't fight you and will comply with whatever you say?

If I had the time I'd love to go over this case with a fine toothed comb because I'll bet you a dollar to a pocketful of bent nickles that the UKGC has presented this case in a manner that shows themselves in the best possible light: proactive, fighting to protect the little guy, safeguarding vulnerable citizens, etc etc.

Yeah, sure, maybe that's the small print but the large print is that they benefit greatly by spinning a case this for all it is worth, perhaps making 32Red look like a predator caught in the hen-house when the reality is that there are MANY casinos who have done much worse to UK citizens, repeatedly, and are not being pilloried because the UKGC can't or won't lay hands on them.

And dare I mention a certain political motivation the UKGC obviously has to make themselves, and their political masters, look good. Like it or not we live in a highly volatile political situation here in the UK and the UKGC serves an administration that needs all the good press it can get. The bold actions we've seen from them in recent months are very much NOT a coincidence. Again, who better to take a well-publicized kidney punch than someone like 32Red who is guaranteed not to fight back.
 
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brianmon

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The UK is a nanny state that encourages people to blame others for their own problems. Like Max mentioned - the UKGC has an axe to grind and this is a clear example of this. This is the UKGC's version - protecting players from themselves. I just wish they would spend more time and efforts on tracking down operators who are taking UK bets without a UK license. It doesn't take a super sleuth to figure out who these rogues are; 15-20 minutes of Google searches will pretty much lay these out bare. That is where the real dodginess lies - not with the likes of 32Red and Kindred.
What could the UKGC do about that?
I'm not disagreeing with you or anything, just curious.
 

colinsunderland

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Of course that's not what he's saying. You should -- and I'm sure you do -- know better than to suggest such a thing.

No I genuinely didn't understand the meaning, if there should be protection then surely any casino flouting the rules are being dodgy, so surely to suggest any casino isn't dodgy when they have just been hit with a massive fine is going against that principle. I don't think at all Bryan was suggesting that, but I don't understand the last part of the post.
 

colinsunderland

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What could the UKGC do about that?
I'm not disagreeing with you or anything, just curious.

Presumably they could block the domain usinga court order, along the lines of what FACT do for sites like thepiratebay. Not foolproof but would stop most people using them. Obviously easy enough to get round using a VPN etc, but I think most people searching for somewhere to play would be put off easily enough by getting an ISP block page with a warning from the UKGC. I've never understood why they don't do that either.
 

nutnut

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2 million is a small fine should have hit them hard. Allowing someone to lose over half a million without any sort of checks on how they earn that much or can lose that much? Pathetic.
 

nutnut

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Presumably they could block the domain usinga court order, along the lines of what FACT do for sites like thepiratebay. Not foolproof but would stop most people using them. Obviously easy enough to get round using a VPN etc, but I think most people searching for somewhere to play would be put off easily enough by getting an ISP block page with a warning from the UKGC. I've never understood why they don't do that either.

It costs on average £30,000 per court order to block domains, who is going to pay that as every week you would need to make a new court order to block new ones.
 

SpinUk

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I think its quite a big fine tbf, how much do they make net profit (circa £6m in 2016). So 30% of profits -> they will feel the pain on that one.
 

colinsunderland

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It costs on average £30,000 per court order to block domains, who is going to pay that as every week you would need to make a new court order to block new ones.

My understanding is that its around half that, and much less to add extra domains at a later point. Presumably they could block a few from the revenue from the 32Red fine!
 

maxd

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I think it's important to note that they HAVE NOT been fined, they've agreed to pay a "penalty package". It may sound like the same thing but a full-fledged fine kicks off a formal review and compliance verification process that a "penalty" payment does not. In other words a proper fine means the UKGC will be messing with your business for some time to come, not so with the penalty process.

And not to be picky but compared to some of the other UKGC penalty payments recently -- 888 = £7.8M, WillHill = £6.2M -- it's not particularly large.
 
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colinsunderland

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I think it's important to note that they HAVE NOT been fined, they've agreed to pay a "penalty package". It may sound like the same thing but a full-fledged fine kicks of a formal review and compliance verification process that a "penalty" payment does not. In other words a proper fine means the UKGC will be messing with your business for some time to come, not so with the penalty process.

Also, this was before Kindred too them over, so probably shouldn't be taken as a negative against them, the breaches were done by 32Red.
 

maxd

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Surely the fact 32Red admitted it is a clear indication they were wrong? Mark can easily come on and refute the UKGC claims if its not true.

Nobody is saying that 32Red was without fault. It's whether their real and actual fault equates meaningfully to what's being publicized that is the question.

And if you imagine that 32Red can say what they like about this then I think you've well misunderstood how this works. The UKGC holds 32Red's fate in their hands, more or less, so how much latitude do you imagine that equates to in terms of criticizing the UKGC's statements or actions? My bet is that 32Red does not find itself in the position to test that to find out.

Allowing someone to lose over half a million without any sort of checks ...

Not at all the case I'm afraid. As I understand it there were checks made throughout the time in question in keeping with standard industry practice at the time. It was not a big fat money hoovering operation the way it's being made to sound. By today's standards maybe 32Red could and perhaps should have been more diligent. Years ago things were very different and it's important to recognize that this case did stretch over a number of years.

Another thing that's important to take into account is that high-roller players often drop that amount in a month -- or less! -- and demand the freedom to do so. The casinos have always had a balancing act to perform with such players and it's only very recently that the UK or anyone else has had anything to say about it (Source Of Income checks and all that). In days gone by it was simply and plainly left to the casinos to manage the situation as they thought best. In my experience 32Red has been much more mindful of their social responsibilities in this regard than many, Many, MANY other casinos.
 
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