Online gambling operator Rank Group has been slapped with a £0.5m fine for failing to follow Gambling Commission rules on dealing with problem gamblers.
An investigation by the commission found that the London-listed outfit had failed to interact with a gambler who was displaying problematic behaviour, contacted him during a self-exclusion period and failed to follow rules on the provision of credit.
The investigation was concerned with the activity of the company with regard to an overseas high net value consumer who held an online Grosvenor Casinos account and lost £1m in a 24-hour period in 2017.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who maybe experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.”
Rank released a statement in response to the investigation in which it called for more to be done to help operators identify the signs of problem gambling among wealthier customers, a task that Rank described as “challenging”.
However, the company also acknowledged that patterns in the consumer’s behaviour, such as the rising cost and speed of his gambling, and his “overt signs of frustration”, should have led to the issue being noticed earlier.
“No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded,” said Watson.
Watson added that the penalty would have been “a lot higher” had Rank not taken positive actions in terms of self-reporting their shortcomings and being open and cooperative during the subsequent investigation.
Rank’s shares were down 1.65% at 167.20p at 0854 BST.
Source: Web Financial Group