Entain hit with record £17m fine

Gambling giant Entain has been handed a £17m fine from the Gambling Commission of Great Britain for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

Entain Group operates 13 websites, including Ladbrokes and Coral and will fork out £14m for failures at its online business LC International Limited.

It will also have to pay £3m for failures at its Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited operation – it’s retail arm of more than 2,700 shops.

Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes said: “Our investigation revealed serious failures that have resulted in the largest enforcement outcome to date.

“There were completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures. Operators are reminded they must never place commercial considerations over compliance.

“This is the second time this operator has fallen foul of rules in place to make gambling safer and crime-free.

“They should be aware that we will be monitoring them very carefully and further serious breaches will make the removal of their licence to operate a very real possibility. We expect better and consumers deserve better.”

As part of the regulatory settlement and additional licence conditions, a business board member will need to implement an improvement plan for the group.

This will then be audited by a third-party within 12 months to ensure the firm is complying with its licence conditions and the code of practice.

One particular bettor, who was known to live in social housing, was allowed to deposit £186,000 in six months without sufficient checks.

The regulator also highlighted that an online gambler was allowed to deposit £230,845 during extended overnight sessions over an 18 month period with just one interaction with the operator.

It also fell foul of anti-money laundering rules when allowing an online customer to deposit almost £750,000 in 14 months without carrying out sufficient source of funds checks.

Entain said in a statement: “Entain has entered into the regulatory settlement with the commission in order to bring the matter to a close and avoid further costly and protracted legal proceedings.

“Entain accepts that certain legacy systems and processes supporting the operations of its British business during 2019 and 2020 were not in line with the evolving regulatory expectations of the commission in respect to aspects of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) safeguards.

“However, the group also notes the commission’s statement that it found no evidence whatsoever of criminal spend within Entain’s operations.

“The issues raised by the commission relate to the period between December 2019 and October 2020, which pre-dates the many changes in the area of safer gambling and AML that Entain has introduced.”

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Written by David Kent

David has more than a decade of sports betting and sports writing experience working with some of the biggest names in the industry. He focuses on articles covering these subjects including how crypto is transforming sportsbooks.