The British bookmaker, Ladbrokes Coral is now facing a fine of £5.9m after being reprimanded for their poor attention to customer safeguarding, including their failure to interact responsibly with a gentleman who allegedly lost £98,000 over the course of 2 and a half years.
During this time, the customer had 460 declined deposits into his account, and had made efforts to block the company’s promotional offers and deals coming into his mailbox without success. Now GVC are being accused of negligence in carrying out social responsibility interactions with customers.
This isn’t the first time Ladbrokes have failed to meet the appropriate measures when it comes to their customers’ wellbeing. Another customer had spent close to £1.5 million over the course of 3 years, and usually such large sums often warrant the company getting in touch to find out the source of their funds.
This is a key factor in their role when it comes to customer social responsibility, and usually it would be a requirement for the customer to provide a document evidencing where the money came from. Both are actions the company failed to take on this occasion, and others.
The executive director of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson, said that “Decision makers at gambling businesses need to invest in the welfare of their customers and the integrity of money being gambled with. These were systemic failings at a large operator which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing through the business and this is unacceptable.”
Now, as a condition of the settlement agreed, GVC must pay £4.8 million up front for the financial penalty, and will then divest the remaining £1.1 million gained from their customers as a result of their failed actions. On top of the settlement, it will also be mandatory that they go through their top 50 customers from the years 2015-2017 to establish if any other failures may have been missed.
Investigations into their personal management is also under review. In the meantime, the bookmaker has been ordered to correct their current social responsibility protocols and make a number of business improvements, including a refined customer interaction process, retraining their employees and staff, as well as hiring additional staff to ensure all gaming is carried out fairly and responsibly.
Kenneth Alexander is GVC’s chief executive. In a statement, he said “These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition, I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.
“I am confident that, we now have in place a robust and industry leading approach to player protection.”
Not the Only Downfalls This Year
Back in July, it was reported that GVC’s net gaming revenue had dropped by 10% in the second quarter of the year. It is suspected that the decline is as a result of the new £2 betting limit which was introduced on fixed-odds betting terminals earlier in the year. This amounted to a massive 39% drop in year-on-year revenue.
Alexander said to press at the time, “The transition to a post £2 stakes-cut environment in UK retail is progressing very well and we believe the Ladbrokes Coral estate is best-placed to take market share. In the US, Roar Digital, our JV with MGM Resorts, is on-track for its full online launch ahead of the NFL season in September.”
It’s been a rocky year for GVC so far, and for other UK and European gambling operators in the industry.
William Hill has also been at loggerheads with the government over the new fixed-odds betting measures. The bookmakers have announced that they will plan to close down 700 of their betting shops in the UK as a result; leading to almost 4.5k job losses.
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