The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Neil McArthur has a warning for UK-facing gambling operators: follow gaming regulations to the letter or face a, “relentless ecalation,” in fines. McArthur’s warning is one that maintains, and escalates, the UKGC’s recent efforts to increase enforcement of its edicts, especially when they apply to advertising, compliance and anti-money laundering issues.

McArthur made his comments in an an interview with the Financial Times (subscription required). In that interview, McArthur pointed out that the UKGC was already stepping up enforcement before he took over and that he plans to keep the heat on operators who have long played fast and loose with issues such as allowing problem gamblers to open multiple accounts and turning a blind eye to the source of a player’s funds.

Increased enforcement of existing regulations, and a willingness to dole out massive fines, have become a hallmark of the modern UKGC. Over the course of the last 12 months, the UKGC has handed out £18 million ($23 million USD) to operators. That’s up considerably from the £1.6 million in fines that were handed out in the 12 months prior to that.

Roughly £16.3 million of the last year’s fines were paid by three operators (William Hill, Coral Interactive, and 888 Holdings). These three major players were dinged, mainly, for lax enforcement of existing regulations. All of the operators seemed surprised by the Commission’s hardball tactics but none protested outside of the official workflow.

McArthur made it very clear that increased enforcement will continue, “until we get the standards we expect.”

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