UK’s reputed online casino 32Red has been caught in a bit of controversy. The operator has just been fined £2 million for having failed to comply with multiple anti-money laundering practices and more importantly – overlooking its responsibilities as a custodian of safe gambling practices.
In the particular case that has led to the indictment, 32Red had won £758,000 from a single customer while failing to comply with all anti-money laundering and social responsibility checks. The amount was staked by a gambler whose monthly income, a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) investigation revealed, hardly exceeded £2,000.
Even then, 32Red riposted by providing a document that stated the income of the customer as £13,000 a month. However, the UKGC quickly refuted the challenge, indicating that the income was clearly volatile and the average net proceedings were what the UKGC had already specified.
Whatever the amount, however, 32Red still hadn’t done anything to examine the situation with a stated income of £13,000 a month and gambling a monthly average of £45,000. More glaringly still, the operator did not launch an investigation into the customer until January 2017.
Putting things in perspective, the said gambler had been playing at the casino from November 2014 until April 2017. Nothing had triggered a checkup for almost the entire duration of the customer’s stay. However, in January 2017, the gamer won £1 million, which he immediately stacked back.
The check was then deemed acceptable to 32Red, but the UKGC had already stepped in identifying a slew of issues that had been overlooked. To add insult to injury, the operator had intentionally encouraged and incentivized the person to continue and pursue their gambling addiction.
32Red continuously extended free bonuses, which may be interpreted as a lack of social responsibility. The failure to track the origin of the money and providing a flimsy piece of proof instead when requested by the UKGC did little to bolster the casino’s credibility.
However, Kindred, the parent company of 32Red had accepted the penalty and vowed to pursue a course of action that will help them introduce a more transparent and helpful customer screening process, for gamblers’ own safety and so that the company may avoid failing to comply with regulations ever again.
It was a laudable action on the part of the gambling giant indeed. Meanwhile, the UKGC Executive Director Richard Watson said that in the cases where an operator failed to comply with regulations, the UKGC would be coming down hard on them.
Watson highlighted the lack of compliance with clear-cut regulations that were there to avoid the situation that had occurred. He again reminded the obligation of operators to act as soon as they even the slightest suspicion that a person may be in danger of gambling recklessly.
The UKGC reminded that “the source of the customer’s wealth was unknown to the operator,” which was another substantial issue.
Meanwhile, the proceedings from the fine will be redistributed, with the bulk of the sum worth £1.3 million going for the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.