The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued Kindred Group subsidiaries Platinum Gaming and 32red with a combined fine of £7.1m for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
Platinum Gaming, which operates Kindred’s flagship Unibet sportsbook brand, will pay £2.9m, whilst igaming brand 32Red will be charged the larger sum of £4.2m.
The duo have also been issued an official warning by the regulator following its investigation, which marks the fourth enforcement action taken by the Commission this year, following charges against 10bet (£620k), InTouch Games (£6.1m), TonyBet (£442k) and Vivaro Gaming (£337k).
Kay Roberts, UKGC Executive Director, said: “These failures highlight clearly that both operators failed to interact with customers in a way which minimises the risk of them experiencing harms associated with gambling.
“Our investigations also showed that policies and procedures were overlooked, both around customer accounts and anti-money laundering practices.
“Ultimately, it is an example which all gambling operators should take notice of to ensure they protect their customers at all times.”
A breakdown of the fine saw Kindred’s brands penalised for a range of infractions, including failure to identify gambling sessions where customers may have been at risk of harm, ineffective controls at identifying and protecting problem gamblers and ‘superficial’ customer interactions.
Platinum was specifically deemed to have failed to adopt effective policies and procedures to identify multiple accounts held by one person, allowing self-excluded or blocked 32Red customers to access it, and failing to identify and interact with potential problem gamblers.
On AML, the Unibet operator did not enact ‘appropriate’ policies, procedures and controls’, and failed to ensure that said measures were regulatory reviewed and revised to maintain effectiveness.
Meanwhile, 32Red was found to have failed to implement measures required by legislation, with financial triggers for reviews deemed too high whilst customers subjected to source of funds or source of wealth checks were ‘in most cases’ allowed to continue playing.
The UKGC explained: “Inappropriate controls allowed significant levels of gambling to take place within a short space of time without the operator knowing anything about customers’ financial situations.”
Additionally, Kindred’s igaming brand had ‘an over reliance’ on its confidence that funds coming through firms regulated by the FInancial Conduct Authority (FCA) would be risk-free on AML.
Lastly, the Commission reported that 32Red had failed to enact its own policies when a customer account was not blocked after an information deadline request had expired – allowing the customer to gamble £16,280 and lose £8,321 until their account was suspended two weeks later.
The UKGC remains steadfast in its tougher enforcement campaigns against non-compliant gambling operators and monitoring of licensed businesses.
Commenting towards the end of last year, Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes informed the industry: “I will be very straight with you, as I generally am. I am sick of talking about non-compliance and I am already tired of it defining how we see the industry you are in and the experience of too many consumers.”