UK Gambling Commission Hits 888 With One of Its Largest-Ever Fines at £9.4m

  • The UKGC has fined 888 UK £9.4m ($12.6m) for social responsibility, AML failings
  • In 2017, the body fined 888 £7.8m ($10.4m) for failing vulnerable customers
  • 888 allowed one customer to spend £65,835 ($88,142) in months without requesting SOF
  • A known NHS worker also received a large monthly deposit cap of £1,300 ($1,741)
888 logo with British flag
For the second time in five years, 888 UK Limited has received a heavy UKGC fine, amounting to $12.6m. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Multiple failings

The UK Gambling Commission has hit 888 UK Limited with a £9.4m ($12.6m) fine, one of the largest financial penalties the regulatory body has ever issued.

On Tuesday, the UKGC took to Twitter to share news of 888’s fine for social responsibility and money laundering failings:

UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes warned that if 888 breaks UK gaming laws again, the body would “seriously consider the suitability of the operator to uphold the licensing objectives.”

888 has once again failed its customers

888 has been on the Commission’s radar for some time. In 2017, it hit the global gaming firm with a £7.8m ($10.4m) penalty package for failing vulnerable customers. Rhodes said that while this 2017 enforcement was different, 888 has once again failed its customers.

“Consumers in Britain deserve to know that when they gamble, they are participating in a leisure activity where operators play their part in keeping them safe and are carrying out checks to ensure money is crime-free,” the UKGC CEO said.

Money laundering failures

In a Tuesday news release, the UKGC said 888, which operates 78 websites including 888.com, received an official warning and will be subject to extensive independent auditing.

permitting a customer to spend £65,835 ($88,142)

The regulatory and licensing body listed 888’s multiple money laundering failures, which included permitting a customer to spend £65,835 ($88,142) in only 5 months without completing source of funds (SOF) checks.

The Commission’s investigation also found 888 took customers at their word regarding employment income.

888 also failed to follow one of its own policies requiring customers to provide SOF within ten days of concerning activity. The UKGC gave an example whereby 888 did not request SOF for three weeks after the ten-day period, during which time the customer lost £15,000 ($20,100).

Social responsibility issues

One of 888’s most eye-catching social responsibility failures saw the firm fail to intervene when one customer lost £37,000 ($49,571) in just six weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UKGC said 888 had also given a known NHS worker earning £1,400 ($1,875) a month a monthly deposit cap of £1,300 ($1,741).

In its news release, the Commission said it found no evidence of 888 “proactively placing restrictions on accounts where social responsibility concerns were raised.”

The UK body also brought 888 to task on its handling of multiple, one-customer accounts. In one instance, a customer had one of his eleven accounts restricted because of SOF concerns but managed to open three additional accounts and continue gambling.