This year has been a series of ups and downs for the gambling industry. Operators, both online and in land-based form, have struggled for some reason or another. Many have fallen short of revenue earnings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For others, issues in 2020 revolved around fines due to problems with regulators. GamblingIndustryFines.com, a Gambling Compliance tracker, has complied a 2020 report, showing that regulators have issued over £44m in fines this year. Several big companies in the online casino and sports betting industries were affected.
Fines were issued for a number of reasons including failures with social responsibility and anti-money laundering. Operators were also found to have fallen short regarding responsible gambling policies and offering customers incentives that were unauthorized.
Which Operators Were Fined?
Throughout the year, several operators in countries around the world were affected by various fines. The fines first started in January when the Malta Gaming Authority handed down a fine to Blackrock Media for servicing transactions that were unauthorized. The Malta company was fined a total of £2m.
The Kindred Group was also affected during the first quarter of the year. A subsidiary of the company, Spooniker Ltd., was warned by the Swedish Gambling Authority, and then a sanction fee issued for SEK 100 million ($9.5m). The fine was issued due to financial incentives being sent to customers in violation of new gambling legislation in Sweden.
Fast forward to later on in 2020 and Caesar’s Entertainment UK was issued a fine. The company was hit hard by sanctions totaling £13m. BGO Entertainment was fined a much smaller £2m for anti-money laundering issues and social responsibility failings.
NetBet was also affected by anti-money laundering shortcomings, fined £748,000 once the UK regulator found out that controls were lacking. The company also fell short when it came to procedures and policies centered on responsible gambling.
The many fines issued over the past year, plus changes in regulations, clearly show that governments, as well as regulators, are serious about protecting players who are at-risk as well as taking care of ensuring money laundering and fraud have no place in the gambling industry.