32Red has been handed a £2m penalty package by the UK Gambling Commission for not doing enough to protect a consumer from gambling-related harm as well as for money-laundering failures.
Focusing its investigation on dealings with a customer between November 2014 and April 2017, the individual in question became a 32Red customer in September 2011, with VIP status from February 2013.
In a statement, the Commission said: “The Commission only licensed 32Red from November 2014 so this case relates only to the time under our licence.”
The period in question saw the punter deposit a total of £758,000 without social responsibility and money laundering checks having been undertaken, the statement read.
Richard Watson, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said: “Instead of checking on the welfare of a customer displaying problem gambling behaviour, 32Red encouraged the customer to gamble more – this is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to be doing.
“Operators must take action when they spot signs of problem gambling and should be carefully reviewing all the customers they are having a high level of contact with.
“Protecting consumers from gambling-related harm is a priority for us and where we see operators failing in their responsibility to keep their customers safe we will take tough action.”
During the investigative period 22 incidents were uncovered that indicate the customer was a problem gambler, “but instead of checking if they needed help, 32Red gave them free bonuses”.
Such indications include admissions to 32Red staff that they had spent too much, displaying frustration and chasing losses, with the Commission also saying its investigation showed that 32Red failed to check that the customer could afford their spending on the site.
Breaking down the penalty package, £709,046 is a divestment of the financial gain, a further £1.3m financial penalty, £15,000 payment of costs and improvements to policy, procedure and risk management.
Detailing the response, it was noted by the Commission: “32Red made full admissions to the breaches in an initial meeting.
“The operator has implemented a number of changes and improvements to processes and procedures, both immediately upon this incident coming to light, and subsequent to the acquisition by Kindred Group plc.”