There has been series of deterrent fines meted out by the Gambling Commission recently to operators, as part of their tough reforms to gambling policy.
- The Gambling Commission is reported to have fined Bonne Terre Limited, trading as Sky Betting & Gaming, £1.17 million (N635 million) under Sec 121 (1) of the Gambling Act, after investigations showed that they breached the UK’s Social Responsibility Code of Practice (SRCP 3.5.3(2) & 1.11 ), which provided that, gaming licensees must take all reasonable steps to prevent sending any marketing material to customers who had self-excluded, and must not send direct marketing such as emails without the informed and specific consent of the customers; except permitted by law, even if such consent had been given and then withdrawn; by distributing a promotional offer of “Bet £5 get 100 free spins” for its Sky Vegas brand to 41,395 players who has self-excluded and 249,159 customers who had unsubscribed from marketing emails. According to the GC, Sky Betting’s failure to comply with the provisions of the SRCP is a breach of a license condition, as set out in section 82(1) of the Gambling Act 2005, as a license condition and the fine is in line with the Licensing, compliance and enforcement policy statement.
- The Gambling Commission also placed a fine of £9.4m (N5.1 billion) on 888 UK Limited; an online gambling business, after investigation revealed that they have severely failed to uphold social responsibility and money laundering rules, which included; setting its deposit check threshold for financial checks at £40,000, not carrying out a customer interaction with a customer who lost £37,000 in a 6 week period during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving a customer they knew was an NHS worker earning monthly salary of £1,400, a monthly deposit cap of £1,300, no evidence of the operator proactively placing restrictions on accounts where social responsibility concerns were raised, accepting verbal assurances from customers as to employment income and being reliant on open-source information to validate Source of Funds etc.
- BetVictor operator, BV Gaming Limited recently agreed to a regulatory settlement of £2million (N1.8billion), after it came under investigation by the Gambling Commission, for breach of money laundering and social responsibility policy, which includes not checking source of funds of players, who has deposited large sums, and failure to use all relevant information sources to ensure effective decision-making.
Fines have also been issued to other operators like Genesis Casino, grosvenorcasino.com, meccabingo.com, lottogo.com, and Casumo etc.
According to Andrew Rhodes; the Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive, Consumers in Britain deserve to know that when they gamble, they are participating in a leisure activity where the operators play their part in keeping them safe and are also carrying out checks to ensure money is crime free.
Also Self-excluded customers are likely to be suffering from some sort of gambling harm and should absolutely not be sent direct marketing that could tempt them back into gambling.
The Nigerian Gaming Space
Hopefully the Nigerian Government, Regulator (s) and the gaming industry as a whole will adopt such tough gambling policy reforms in order to foster social responsibility and combat the effects of gambling harm.