Social responsibility failings around VIP scheme
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined casino firm Caesars Entertainment UK Limited a record £13m ($16m), due in part to a VIP scheme with “systemic failings”. This is the largest financial penalty to be handed out by the UKGC to date.
the largest financial penalty to be handed out by the UKGC
The commission investigated the company’s social responsibility failings between January 2016 and December 2018. In one case, a VIP customer lost £323,000 ($402,000) in a year while exhibiting clear signs of gambling addiction, such as playing on more than 30 occasions for five hours at a time.
The land-based casino operator is in charge of 11 casinos in the UK which are registered under London Clubs Management Limited.
Anti-money laundering checks also at fault
The investigation also detailed failings concerning anti-money laundering checks. It found that Caesars had not carried out the adequate source of fund checks on customers.
The commission’s report included several examples indicating that Caesars had not adequately communicated with its customers, despite knowing that some were on low salaries and had emptied their savings. In one case, a gambler who had previously self-excluded went on to lose £240,000 (£299,000) over 13 months.
Commission continuing to hand out large fines
The £13m penalty comes just a few weeks after it fined BetWay £11.6m for failing to prevent money laundering. The disciplinary action also follows the commission’s announcement of new VIP program restrictions on Wednesday.
will continue to scrutinize the VIP offerings of both land-based and online facilities
In a public statement published on the UKGC website, chief executive Neil McArthur maintained that the commission will continue to investigate VIP schemes to see whether they serve customers appropriately. He warned that it will continue to scrutinize the VIP offerings of both land-based and online facilities.
McArthur added: “In recent times the online sector has received the greatest scrutiny around VIP practices, but VIP practices are found right across the industry and our tough approach to compliance and enforcement will continue, whether a business is on the high street or online.”
Caesars now upping its game
According to the public statement, Caesars Entertainment UK has acknowledged the findings and accepted the regulatory settlement. This will include carrying out additional anti-money laundering training for staff.
Three senior personal management license holders at the company have since had to surrender their personal licenses. Caesars has now appointed new senior staff, including a senior compliance manager specifically responsible for safer gambling.
The casino company has also enhanced its compliance policies and procedures in response to the investigation findings. The £13m recovered from the operator will go towards the UK’s national strategy to reduce gambling harm.