Following an investigation in the dealings of popular British brand 32Red with a problem gamer, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has concluded that the operator had failed to carry out a slew of checks that would have otherwise helped it identify the issue earlier.
A customer had been allowed to deposit £758,000 without undergoing regular screening process focusing on establishing the origin of the money, but more importantly looking into whether the individual themselves was able to support their substantial gambling habits.
The incidents occurred between November 2014 and April 2017. Overall, there were 22 cases where the casino had encouraged the player to continue playing even though there was a lack of any firm evidence that they could sustain themselves wagering an average of £45,000 a month, including their winnings from the casino.
More importantly, 32Red, the UKGC established, failed to comply with basic anti-money laundering practices which ensure that the stream of money is clear.
Malta-based and Swedish-owned parent company Kindred responded by acquiescing to the penalty and vowing that it will bolster its efforts in providing a more sophisticated and above all else reliable customer behavior monitoring program.
The Story of a Potential Us
The customer has been quite eager to wager big money throughout the duration of his stay with the casino. While his deposits averaged £45,000 every month, he was late to provide proof of his income. However, this was not his own oversight, but rather 32Red’s own lack of action on the matter.
32Red only looked into the financial means of the player in January 2017 when he won £1 million and immediately wagered it back. While the review lasted, the customer took five weeks to provide credible proof of his finances and upon examination by the UKGC, there were still more disconcerting discrepancies to be found.
For starters, the UKGC indicated that the stated money on the slip did not in fact amount to £13,000 a month, and the net salaries were just slightly over £2,000. What’s more important is that the customer was allowed to gamble for nearly two years without being offered any help and that no anti-money laundering checks had taken place.
The UKGC has been hard on 32Red saying that when operators failed to fulfil their duties to protect customers, the commission itself will step in and take action. More unpalatable still was the fact that 32Red dished out free bonuses to encourage further play and did not act on a complaint from the customer who had shared with the staff that he might be gambling too much.
Finally, the UKGC will redistribute the money from the penalty to first sap the monetary gain 32Red has notched up to the tune of £709,046. Another £1.3 million will go to support the National Responsible Gambling Strategy and additional £15,000 will go to settle legal bills.
The whole situation has been entirely unbecoming, and it will certainly put a dent in the reputation of 32Red. But more importantly it raises the question – can we trust the operators in their commitment to the values they say they champion?