News broke out that one of the UK’s best-known names in the online casino industry, 32Red, has been fined £2 million over an apparent failure to comply with social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks.
The casino was found responsible by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for intentionally enticing a problem gambler to continue playing whilst ignoring all concerns about their well-being as well as failing to initiate a number of security checks with regards to the origin of the money wagered.
In the period between November 2014 and April 2017, 32Red accepted wagers worth well over £700,000 from an individual who had been showing clear signs of reckless gambling. A check into his financial status was triggered only in January 2017 when he managed to win £1 million, which he immediately staked back.
The UKGC Steps In and It Doesn’t Look Good
So, 32Red was suspicious that something was off and launched its own investigation. It took the person five weeks to produce proof for his monthly income, which the operator estimated amounted to £13,000.
However, with the UKGC now involved, there was no stone left unturned. UKGC deemed that the individual’s income was in fact little over £2,000 and the sum cited by the casino was volatile and subject to drastic ebbs and flows.
However, what the UKGC own investigation revealed was rather more concerning. Not only did 32Red fail to clear any of the mandatory checks pertaining to both the security of the individual and money, but the casino may have in fact helped the gambler continue to come back.
This revelation is particularly painful and poignant given the fact that on at least one occasion, the individual had expressed regret that he had gambled too much. This led to no action on the part of the casino, which is enough for a moral reprimand alone.
At least 22 occasions were documented when the individual should have been checked and audited. A close examination of his wealth would have made it abundantly clear that he could not have in fact had that money.
A Future for Problem Gamblers?
The number of problem gamblers is rising exponentially. Whether you play video slots or online poker, you are at a risk. One survey by an Australian research center has indicated that 40% of all poker players are at a risk of becoming gambling addicts. The 40% in fact suffered from some form of the condition, ranging from mild to more potent.
Europe is agog with passing a number of regulations intended to snuff out problem gambling or curb it to some extent. The most bizarre goods are being banned, including something called ‘loot boxes’, which is digital goods traded inside video gaming, which has become the subject of underage gambling.
The fine was just. Meanwhile, Kindred, the parent company of 32Red has said that it will step up its efforts to introduce screening policies that would prevent a repeat of the recent case. Whether the industry leaders will uphold their values only the future can tell.