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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Gambling firms fined £7.1m for failing to protect customers

Gambling firms fined £7.1m for failing to protect customers

The regulator says the firms, owned by the same company, failed to meet their obligations on preventing harm to customers through lax controls.
Two online gambling brands have been fined a total of £7.1m by the industry regulator - the latest to be penalised for failing to protect customers from problem gambling risks.

The Gambling Commission said 32 Red Limited, which runs 32red.com, would pay £4.2m and Platinum Gaming Limited, which runs unibet.co.uk, £2.9m.

Both are owned by Kindred Group.

The watchdog said 32Red's social responsibility failures included failing to identify customers at risk of harm based on their session times, and not having effective enough controls to identify and protect potential problem gamblers.

One customer, the commission said, was allowed to deposit £43,000 and lose £36,000 within seven days.

In the case of Platinum Gaming, some self-excluded or blocked customers were able to register on its site after being blocked or self-excluded on the 32Red platform.

The commission said Platinum also failed to identify and interact with customers who may have been experiencing harm.

The penalties are the latest to be imposed by the regulator as it seeks to protect consumers from the perils of problem gambling.

In January, In Touch Games was handed a £6.1m penalty - its third similar fine - for "social responsibility and money laundering failings".

Gambling Commission executive director Kay Roberts said of the behaviour at 32 Red and Platinum: "These failures highlight clearly that both operators failed to interact with customers in a way which minimises the risk of them experiencing harms associated with gambling.

"Our investigations also showed that policies and procedures were overlooked, both around customer accounts and anti-money laundering practices.

"Ultimately, it is an example which all gambling operators should take notice of to ensure they protect customers at all times."

Kindred Group said in a statement that it had hired extra staff in a bid to bolster its controls and build on the work that it had done, since the investigation, to ensure compliance.

Henrik Tjärnström, its chief executive, said: "While we accept the outcome, and the acknowledgment that we have already taken significant steps to strengthen our processes, we also recognise that we need to work even harder to ensure a safe and compliant business.

"We appreciate the commission's clear recognition that our operations are in an improving position and that we remain fit to hold an operating licence.

"Our commitment to reducing gambling harm across our platforms is a key part of our Journey towards Zero ambition - and we are redoubling our efforts to ensure we continue that progress."
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