32Red Fined £2m For Failing To Protect Customer
32Red, the online casino company, have been fined £2m for failing to help one of their customers with a gambling problem. In fact, worse than that, they instead offered him additional bonuses and VIP status to further encourage more gambling.
It all started when this customer, who isn’t named, deposited a whopping £758,000 over the period of 2 years. Under regulations from the Gambling Commission, 32Red and all other online casinos are obligated to carry out money laundering or social responsibility checks, neither of which occurred in this instance. The social responsibility check is designed to protect people from arming themselves while gambling by any means including from playing with more money than they can reasonably afford.
Well, it’s safe to say that this particular person couldn’t reasonably afford £758,000. In fact, at this point, they admitted to the staff at 32Red that they had spent too much money and were getting frustrated trying to chase their losses. Now at this stage, a casino, under its terms of licences to operate in the UK, has a duty to intervene because it’s quite clear this person has an addiction but no such intervention was made. In fact, following an investigation by the Gambling Commission, they found that there were 22 incidents between November 2014 and April 2017 to show this individual had gambling problems and needed help. Instead, they just offered them more bonuses and encouraged continued gambling. Richard Watson, the Gambling Commission’s director, said in a statement: “Instead of checking on the welfare of a customer displaying problem gambling behaviour, 32Red encouraged the customer to gamble more. This is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to be doing.”
So how did the Gambling Commission intervene? It was in January 2017 that 32Red finally reviewed the customer accounts after a win of over £1m was gambled again instantly. The customer took 5 weeks to respond to requests on their financials, showing a monthly net income of £13,000 but an average £45,000 in monthly deposits.
As such, 32Red, recently taken over by an online Swedish betting company Kindred, was fined £2m which includes a £709,046 penalty for divestment of the financial gain and £1.3m to the National Responsible Gaming Strategy to tackle problem gambling, with a final £15,000 towards the cost of the investigation. It wasn’t long ago that the Gambling Commission issued a £7.8m penalty on betting firm 888 back in August 2017 for failing to help vulnerable customers.
It seems as though casinos are failing to help people who have an issue with gambling and turn a blind instead. It’s quite clear that many of these betting firms simply want to take as much money from their customers as possible without offering the help they are required to provide. While it’s good to see the Gambling Commission seemingly stay on top of such issues, just be mindful of your current financial situation and only bet as much as you can reasonably afford to lose. If you think you might need help, you can contact BeGambleAware here.