32Red Scolded by UKGC and Fined £2 Million for Social Responsibility Failings

Online betting firm 32Red has been hit with a £2 million fine by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for failing to protect a customer from gambling-related harm.

32Red fined.

Former UKGC CEO Sarah Harrison discusses the issue of social responsibility in a YouTube video prior to 32Red’s £2 million fine. (Image: YouTube/UKGC)

In a press release published on June 20, the regulatory body outlined the results of a long-running investigation into how the operator handled one of its high-volume players. According to the report, the customer in question deposited £758,000 between November 2014 and April 2017, despite earning a net salary of £2,150 per month.

Technical Failures Mount Up

Due to failures in the way 32Red vetted and verified users, the player was able to make average monthly deposits of £45,000 with what would appear to be money that wasn’t theirs. As well as spending vast sums of money without providing “proof of wealth,” the UKGC also noted patterns of addictive behaviour.

As per the review, there were 22 instances of the player demonstrating problem gambling behaviour in the form of comments and complaints to the customer service team.

“There were three distinct types of contact: 1) poor performance – e.g. I have had enough of the site not performing well, 2) spending too much – e.g. I’ve deposited quite a sum, 3) frustrated, fed up, chasing losses – e.g. all I seem to do is deposit,” reads the report.

UKGC Hopes Fines Get the Message Across

For failing to protect the player and stop their spending get out of hand, 32Red will now have to pay a penalty package of £2 million+ which includes a paye£1.3million payment in lieu of a financial penalty.

The fine is one of the largest ever handed out by the UKGC and a further sign that social responsibility failures won’t be tolerated.

“Operators must take action when they spot signs of problem gambling and should be carefully reviewing all the customers they are having a high level of contact with. Protecting consumers from gambling-related harm is a priority for us and where we see operators failing in their responsibility to keep their customers safe we will take tough action,” executive director of the UKGC Richard Watson concluded.

32Red was purchased by the Kindred Group in 2017 for £175 million. Although the incidents according prior to the takeover, a representative for the company told The Guardian that it is working to consolidate and improve its practices to ensure customers are safe and secure.

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