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UKGC Hits Spreadex with £1.36 Million Penalty

While Europe slumbers in the sweet glow of summer holidays, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been hard at work issuing fines to operators who have stepped out of line. Earlier this week, the Commission issued a £1.36 million ($1.61 million USD) to Spreadex, a UK-facing sports betting and financial trading site for various violations of anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility rules.

According to the UKGC report on the matter, Spreadex relied too much on an automated system of financial alerts to alert players when they were losing large amounts over short periods of time, or were in danger of doing themselves real harm.

The report cites the case of a player who was allowed to deposit £1.7 million ($2 million USD) and lose £500,000 ($591,000 USD) of it within a month, without appropriate intervention.

On the AML side of the complaint, regulators say that Spreadex regularly failed to establish the source of player funds. In one case, the company accepted a £365,000 ($431,000 USD) from a player without properly sourcing the funds. That player went on to lose £284,000 ($335,000 USD) of that deposit within three months.

Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement and Intelligence commented on the Spreadex fine saying, “Whilst it is disappointing to see anti-money laundering and social responsibility breaches occur despite our extensive published cases highlighting similar failures, we note the swift and robust action the Licensee took to bring itself back to compliance. We expect similar commitment and engagement across the gambling sector.”

Oxley definitely isn’t kidding about her expectations for the rest of the gaming industry. The UKGC has been on an enforcement tear lately issuing fines, including a record £17 million ($20 million USD) fine to Entain that was issued just a week ago.

Spreadex’s fine money will be disbursed to “socially responsible causes”, according to the UKGC.