Over the last few months we have seen many online gambling companies fined for failings in social responsibility and the latest is 32Red.
Their fine is quite hefty, a whopping £2 million, but more interesting is the fact that it has come about because 32Red failed one customer in particular rather than several. The customer in question had been able to deposit £758,000 without any social responsibility or money laundering checks being undertaken.
Red Flags Missed At 32Red
Between November 2014 and April 2017 the deposits were made and in that time, according to the Gambling Commissions investigation, 22 incidents occurred which suggested that the player was a problem gambler.
32Red should have carried out checks but instead they plied the customer with free bonuses. The customer had even expressed to staff at 32Red that they have spent too much and had been chasing losses.
You can read the full public statement from the Gambling Commission and 32Red here.
In the statement the Gambling Commission tell of three types of contact between 32Red and the customer:
- Poor performance – the customer reports that they are unhappy about how the site doesn’t perform well for them
- Spending too much – the customers tells a member of staff that they have deposited a lot of money
- Frustrated, fed up, chasing losses – the customer reports to feel like they are always depositing.
The social responsibility policy for the company at the time did not reference customer interaction and how to log behaviours like this, or what procedure to follow. This in itself breached the social responsibility code provision 3.4.1 – Customer interaction (Social Responsibility Codes of Practice have the effect of a licence condition).
32Red Admit Failings
In the statement 32Red fully admit to coming up short on social responsibility. A number of changes and improvements were immediately implemented.
The payment of £2 million that is being made will be used as follows:
- £709,046 divestment of the financial gain
- £1.3million payment in lieu of a financial penalty, which we would otherwise impose for breaches of a licence condition in accordance with our Statement of principles for determining financial penalties. The money will be spent on accelerating delivery of the National Responsible Gambling Strategy
- Payment of £15,000 towards our investigative costs
- Improvements to policy, procedure and risk management.