It hurts when a regulator goes after your iGaming business. First, it does a damage to your reputation and secondly – there is also the financial loss to consider. But it’s often the case that casinos get away with the bulk of proceedings and use part of them to pay back their fines. True, on occasion gamblers too cross a line. The story of Rank Group is different, though
UK’s Finest in Trouble
UK gambling operator Rank Group has been fined £500,000, a sum which pales in comparison to the actual wrongdoing that merited it. According the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Rank Group have allowed a problem gambler to play through £1 million without triggering any mandatory checks.
The regulator struck quite quickly imposing the fine and citing the exact reasons, such as an inability or lack of willingness to address an obvious gambling problem and suspend temporarily the account of the person while carrying out an audit.
Secondly, and perhaps more strikingly in this case, the said gamer was signed up for the self-exclusion scheme meaning that the casino absolutely must have acted in this case. In addition, Rank Group managed to breach rules that go hand-in-hand with how credits are allocated.
Rank Group’s Grosvenor user started exhibiting signs of problematic gambling back in 2017 and has been wobbling between spells of regular and considered played and reckless spending.
All the Ways to Not Comply
The definite proof that Ranked sought to inflict harm on a proven problematic gamer arose when they extended the courtesy of additional credit, the same that land-based gamers can use.
While the credit wasn’t formalized, Rank Group decided to offer a shortcut, allowing their customer to continue benefitting from the sum and push ahead with his play. Even the self-exclusion wouldn’t save him as a high-ranking manager at Rank reportedly requested that the user is allowed to play.
In preparing their case, the UKGC also said that all the indicators of reckless gambling were there. Other than the casino’s failure to push through and restrict the gamer, there were multiple other worrying signs, including the speed of play, interest in bonuses and the request for self-exclusion.
Justice Still Not Done
Rank Group said that it will terminate all dealings with the customer, but this doesn’t mean much. Unfortunately, financial measures seldom live up to the actual severity of the crime itself.
With this in mind, Rank Group may terminate its involvement with the customer, but they are still walking away with nearly half of what they have to pay. However, this practice may be about to change, as the UKGC’s new boss Neil McArthur has vowed to substantially push up the amounts of fines. Meanwhile, the UKGC did take a hard-line stance on Red32.
This seems like a sensible move. It cannot be the case that in the world’s most regulated and pro-gambling country, where NGOs operate en masse, casinos are allowed to walk away unscathed – or to put it more directly, without bearing the consequences that their behavior merit. If Mr. McArthur is successful, then operators will be put in a very tight spot, which will quickly make them sit up and listen. Either than, or they will fight any suggestion, threatening to cut jobs.