The past 12 months have seen a raft of financial penalties against betting firms in the UK alone – but this is just one element of a global phenomenon, with total charges reaching £105m so far this year.
In the British market, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) issued a total of £44.6m in monetary charges, excluding figures from a recent freedom of information request to the regulator.
According to TMT Analysis, the number of charges handed out in the 2021/22 financial year marks a 76% uptick on the previous year ($25.3m) – despite the number of Commission investigations falling from 64 to 40.
This, the ID and verification services provider argued, is an indicator that regulators are losing patience with operators on player protection standards, and so are adopting an increasingly strict approach towards betting and gaming
“With regulators increasingly looking to crackdown on the gambling industry, firms need to ensure that they can demonstrate the customer protections they have in place,” said John WIlkinson, TMT Analysis CEO.
“Often fines are levied on gambling firms as there is a lack of stringent safety checks in place, so overhauling the processes around identity verification – including correctly checking the correct age has been provided to identifying customers with problem betting histories – has to be a priority.”
The UKGC’s regulatory enforcement has been well documented this year, with a £17m penalty against Entain – the largest to be applied in the UK to date – making headlines across the country.
Entain is not the only company to have fallen under the Commission’s regulatory spotlight, however, with charges levied against the likes of Sky Bet (£1.17m), Betfred (£2.8m), SpreadEx (£1.36m), LeoVegas (£1.32m), 888 (£9.4m) Smarkets (£630,000) and Betway (£400,000).
On a global scale, in the US Willian Hill was hit with a £100,000 charge by the Nevada Gaming Commision and Red Rock Resorts’ Station Casinos brand had to hand over $80,000.
Regulatory and legislative attention in Australia has also been drawn to the betting industry – whilst policy makers push for new gambling frameworks, the Austrac regulator took aim at bet365 and Sportsbet and Star Entertainment received a AU£100m penalty, all related to money laundering requirements.
The reasons for these charges have been various, but have included the aforementioned failure to adhere to AML requirements, as well as general social responsibility measures such as adequate income checks, failure to properly interact with at-risk customers and marketing violations.
Wilkinson concluded: “By failing to improve security measures and combat a lack of consumer protections, firms risk more than simply being hit with fines – the reputational damage of being seen to endanger consumers can be far more damaging.
“Solutions like TMT’s Verify product offer organisations accurate and almost instantaneous insight into a customer’s identity by reviewing their mobile phone and banking history to confirm they are who they claim to be.”