The Gambling Commission is ratcheting up its attack on betting firms which continue to send marketing to self-confessed “problem gamblers” – and also target them with online ads – after whacking operator LeoVegas with a £627,000 fine.
The move follows a £1m penalty issued to Sky Bet for a similar breach last month.
The watchdog ruled that Sweden-listed LeoVegas did not “take all reasonable steps” to stop problem gamblers who had asked to be banned from its websites,
The Gambling Commission said the firm had failed to return funds to 11,205 customers who had “self-excluded” and had also sent marketing material to 1,894 of them, as well as allowing 413 to gamble again without talking to them first.
In addition, it was responsible for 41 misleading website ads that were unclear or omitted significant information about its promotional offers.
The commission said LeoVegas had acknowledged the breaches and had made changes to address the problems.
In response to the ruling, LeoVegas said it had “high ambitions for compliance with laws and regulations” and had continuously improved its procedures and processes.
“We have had discussions with the UK Gambling Commission, on suspected cases of breaches of the British gaming rules. A clear majority of cases are attributable to affiliate marketing.
“It’s good that the Commission puts increased demands on us in the gaming industry. It is an advantage for serious actors who both have the will and ambition to work in a regulated market.”
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