Protecting problem gamblers is the responsibility of every licensed gaming operator on the planet and operators who fail to meet this standard are subject to some pretty severe penalties. Earlier this week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) drove this point home by issuing an astonishing £2 million ($2.6 million USD) fine to the Gibraltar-based 32Red for both failing to protect a problem gambler who wagered more than $700,000 on the site.

The UKGC’s massive, and somewhat unusual, fine underscores the gaming regulator’s recent crackdown on UK-facing operators for a variety of issues ranging from failure to protect problem gamblers to sloppy anti-money laundering protocols to vaguely worded bonus offers. This case, however, revolved mostly around 32Red’s failure to keep to a player who showed clear signs of a gambling problem from accessing its services.

According to the UKGC, the unnamed player deposited more than £758,000 ($997,645 USD) over the course of nearly three years. Along the way, 32Red employees gave the player VIP status and continued access to their services. This was despite the fact that the player in question only earned about £2,150 a month and was depositing as much as £45,000 a month.

The Commission cited 22 occasions when 32Red employees should have noticed red flags that indicated the player was in over his head. Instead of offering advice about how to stop gambling, or simply cutting him off, the company offered him more bonus offers and VIP status. This action did not sit well with UKGC executive director, Richard Watson slammed the company saying, “Instead of checking on the welfare of a customer displaying problem gambling behaviour, 32Red encouraged the customer to gamble more. This is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to be doing.”

According to the report from the Commission, 32Red only investigated the player after he posted a seven-figure win.


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