Popular casino giant 32Red have been in serious trouble recently with The Gambling Commission over their failings to protect a vulnerable player who’s problem gambling over a period of two years led them to deposit more than £758,000.
Consistent missed opportunities to help the individual led the Commission to fine the online casino company £2 million for their disregard of UK gambling regulations which state that if a customer’s behaviour indicates a pattern of problem gambling or even addiction then they must intervene.
Instead, the company encouraged the customer to gamble increasing amounts, offering free bonuses and even an upgrade to VIP status.
420,000 People with an Addiction
It has been recently estimated by the Gambling Commission, that there are now over 420,000 individuals in the UK battling a gambling addiction and a further 2 million people who are problem gamblers and at risk of addiction.
It is the responsibility for the gambling establishment to put the welfare of their customers above revenues, with some faring better than others. 32Red missed a total of 22 opportunities over the period of time the customer was gambling with them to intervene and offer advice.
The customer expressed on several occasions that they had “spent too much” and that they felt they had to “chase” their losses by continuing to gamble more.
Richard Watson the Gambling Commission’s executive director has blasted 32Red’s negligent attitude remarking that the company had done “the exact opposite of what they were supposed to”.
He then went on to comment that “Operators must take action” when they detect signs of problem gambling and should at that point be taking action to offer that person the help they need and also to review their account with them.
32Red have argued that they did take action and conduct an account review but only after the individual won and then immediately wagered a seven-figure sum upon which they were suspended from gameplay.
Gambling Addiction in the Spotlight
Gambling addiction is once again in the spotlight following the renewed support of GamCare by the UK’s leading addiction charity GambleAware. The organisation will be funding GamCare with £14 million over a three year period and this much-needed injection of cash will then go on to train addiction counsellors and give support services the additional resources they need to meet increased demand.
Most recently MPs have been debating the incredibly worrying increase in the number of cases of gambling addiction and managed to win a small victory in parliament with the curbing of FBOTs maximum betting setting, reducing it from £100 to £2.
However, after much stalling from the Treasury, it has been announced that these changed will take two years to come into effect as executives in the gambling industry argue that it will take this length of time to update the software in their machines. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that societies most vulnerable will lose over £4 billion during this period to these highly addictive and damaging machines.
UK licencing demands that operators who provide gambling services within Britain must adhere to the terms of these licences and investigate not only should it appear that players are developing an addiction but also if they are spending well beyond their means.
32Red was found to have failed to thoroughly check how the customer was funding their playing and the whether or not the source of the money was legitimate and has subsequently been fined for breaching rules designed to prevent money laundering.
The customer was found to be depositing an incredible £45,000 per month despite only having a monthly income of just over £2000.
Gambling can be fun, but for many, it can lead to a pattern of problem behaviour and addiction that is extremely difficult to break away from and betting companies should be doing more to protect them.
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