Caesars UK Review Resulted in Personal Management License Losses, Says Gambling Commission

  • The UKGC began its Caesars PML review after fining the company £13m ($16m) in April 2020
  • Three holders surrendered their licenses after being told of the review; two more also lost theirs
  • The case relates back to social responsibility and money laundering failings from 2016 to 2018
  • In 2020, the UKGC dished out similar fines to other operators, including BoyleSports and Betway
man examining documents with magnifying glass
Multiple personal management license holders for Caesars UK have surrendered their permits after a UK Gambling Commission investigation into the company. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The UKGC takes action

A UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) investigation into Caesars Entertainment UK has concluded after multiple personal management license (PML) holders surrendered their permits.

The UKGC fined the UK branch of Caesars a record £13m ($16m) in April 2020. The national regulator dished out its largest financial penalty to date after finding a catalog of social responsibility, money laundering, and customer interaction failures relating to the company’s VIP scheme.

UKGC aimed to ascertain whether those holders failed to abide by regulations

This ruling prompted an investigation into the company’s PML holders. The UKGC aimed to ascertain whether those holders failed to abide by regulations while carrying out their responsibilities, thus placing the operator in breach of its licensing conditions.

The UKGC announced the completion of that investigation on Wednesday. The regulator took to Twitter to publicize the results:

Three PML holders surrendered their licenses after the UKGC informed them of the review, while one forfeited their license prior to notification of the investigation. Another PML holder lost his license after an altercation with a guest at work. The Commission also handed out seven warnings and issued a number of license holders conduct advice letters.

Background on the case

Caesars UK operates a total of 11 casinos across Britain. According to the Commission, the company’s social responsibility failings date back to a period between January 2016 and December 2018.

In its April ruling, the UKGC listed eight failings, four of which related to social responsibility measures. One customer lost £323,000 ($445,784) in a 12-month period after displaying signs of problem gambling behavior. Another player lost £240,000 ($334,338) over a 13-month period despite previously self-excluding.

one customer bet £3.5m ($4.9m) over a period of three months

Meanwhile, the remaining four cases related to money laundering. The most notable failing saw one customer bet £3.5m ($4.9m) over a period of three months, losing a total of £1.6m ($2.2m). The UKGC said Caesars did not carry out adequate source of funds checks on the player. A similar case saw one “politically exposed person” lose £795,000 ($1.1m) over 13 months.

At the time, Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, described the failings as “extremely serious.” He said Caesars had failed to place customer safety at the heart of its business decisions. The Commission vowed to pursue an investigation into the company’s PML holders as a result.

A long list of fines

The UKGC sentenced a number of other operators to fines throughout 2020 after finding similar failings. This included a £2.8m ($3.9m) fine for BoyleSports Enterprise in November after the sports betting company violated anti-money laundering regulations on two of its websites. The UKGC found that BoyleSports did not have appropriate money laundering risk assessments in place.

a Betway customer lost £4m ($5.6m) over the course of four years

Just two weeks prior to its Caesars ruling, the UKGC dished out another hefty fine to Betway. The operator had also failed to prevent money laundering, resulting in an £11.6m ($16.2m) penalty. In one case, a Betway customer lost £4m ($5.6m) over the course of four years. They deposited more than £8m ($11.1m) to their account in that time.

In April 2020, multiple failings related to high-roller customers resulted in the UKGC introducing a number of restrictions for VIP schemes. The new measures set the minimum age for VIP gambling at 25, while banning any feature that speeds up game play for online slots. The Commission has also urged operators to cut back on online ads and ensure marketing does not target vulnerable groups.