The UK Gambling Commission (“the Commission”) has handed out a £627,000 fine to Leo Vegas for misleading advertising and improper dealings with self-excluded customers.
This fine follows a £1 million slap on the wrist for Sky Betting and Gaming in March and a £7.8 million fine given to 888 late last year, both for similar breaches (type, clearly not extent).
There are likely more on the way. At the start of the year the Commission issued a notice advising that 17 operators were under investigation for infringement of social responsibility obligations. So there are still a few investigation outcomes to come, and likely more fines pending.
The Commission will certainly have plenty in the kitty for their 2018 Christmas party. Their £600K windfall from Leo Vegas comes on the back of findings that Leo Vegas:
- had sent marketing material to 1,894 customers who had previously self-excluded, and
- had allowed 413 previously self-excluded customers to gamble without talking to them first, and
- was responsible for 41 incidents of web advertising that was unclear or omitted significant terms.
The Commission’s CEO Neil McArthur issued a warning that they will continue their tough stance on breaches of this kind.
“The outcome of this case should leave no one in any doubt that we will be tough with licence holders who mislead consumers or fail to meet the standards we set in our licence conditions and codes of practice. We want operators to learn the lessons from our investigations and use those lessons to raise standards.”
The fine won’t exactly put Leo Vegas in financial difficulty. Q1 results released last week revealed revenues for the quarter of €77.4 million, up 76% on the same period in 2017. The accounts contained a provision for the fine.
In response to the fine, the company issued a statement saying it had, “high ambitions for compliance with laws and regulations”, and will continuously work to improve processes in this area in the future, a statement supported by the Commission’s acknowledgment that the required changes had been made to address all issues.
Interestingly, affiliates (websites outside the Leo Vegas group, promoting Leo Vegas) were responsible the majority of breaches related to misleading advertising.
“We have had discussions with the UK Gambling Commission, UKGC, on suspected cases of breaches of the British gaming rules. A clear majority of cases are attributable to affiliate marketing.”