July 12, 2024

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Ladbrokes owner Entain to pay £17m for breaching rules

After failing to implement the necessary safeguards to assist financially distressed consumers, a gambling behemoth was sentenced to pay a record-breaking £17 million.

The Gambling Commission cited “absolutely deplorable” failings by Entain, the company that operates Ladbrokes and Coral.

If the business continues to break the rules, it risks losing its right to operate in the UK.

Entain said that it had subsequently implemented safer gambling practices.

The Gaming Commission, an oversight body for gambling rules, looked into the business and discovered a number of “totally unacceptable errors.”

It claimed that it had taken too long to assist consumers who were in debt from their gambling.

Over the course of 18 months, one online gambler who played for extended periods of time at night was able to put more than £230,000 into their account, but they were only contacted once via online chat.

Another, who was known to reside in public accommodation, was permitted to deposit £186,000 over the course of six months without the proper verification.

Some users had the option to open accounts on other websites run by the business, even if they had debt from other sources.

One online customer who had been denied access to Coral due to spending £60,000 in a year without providing proof of funding was able to register an account with Ladbrokes right away and deposit £30,000 in a single day.

Additionally, Entain permitted big deposits from internet consumers without doing checks on the availability of sufficient funding.

One customer was permitted to deposit £742,000 over the course of 14 months without being warned about possible money laundering.

“Our inquiry showed major shortcomings that have resulted in the greatest enforcement outcome to date,” said Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission.

Entain said in a statement that it had accepted the settlement “to put the matter to rest” and “avoid further expensive and drawn-out legal actions.”

The issues revealed, according to the statement, “concern the period between December 2019 and October 2020, which precedes the significant modifications that Entain has implemented in the field of safer gambling and anti-money laundering.”