Gambling Operators Hit With Over $54 Million in Fines Over 2021
A recently released report has shown that gambling regulators around the world have issued roughly $54 million in penalties for 2021. The exact amount totals at $54,490,092 (£40,321,217 or €48,072,047).
A 2021 report revealed that the online gambling industry was forced to pay over $54 million in penalties over the course of the year.
The three central authorities to issue these fines were the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) and Kansspelautoriteit, the Dutch regulatory body.
Overall, these financial penalties were issued to both online casinos and sports betting websites. The majority of these fines came as a result of operators failing to follow two major protocols. The first major breach is not following prescribed anti-money laundering practices. Additionally, the second was a failure to recognize players with problem gambling behaviors and take action.
One example of the severity of these penalties is the $8.2 million (£6 or €7.1 million) penalty the UK Gambling Commission slapped onto Casumo. The operator was fined for lack of oversight ensuring that its players were gambling responsibly. This is the second time Casumo has been punished with a multimillion-dollar fine for this failure.
In addition to online gambling operators, affiliates were also put under a microscope by regulators in 2021. Kansspelautoriteit handed down particularly harsh penalties to over a dozen online gambling affiliates they had investigated throughout the year.
A few of the biggest offenders of the year include:
- Buzz Group Ltd.
- Caesars Entertainment
- Daub Alderney
- EU Lotto
- Greentube Alderney
- Tipico Co. Ltd.
A Closer Look at the Major Infractions
The UK Gambling Commission’s fine levied against Casumo was the most significant single financial sanction of 2021. The company was accused of breaching anti-money laundering protocols. In addition, they also failed to properly implement safe online gambling measures.
In one instance, Casumo allowed a player to lose roughly $1.5 million (£1.1/€1.3 million) over the course of three years. This amounts to nearly half a million in losses per year, with no responsible gambling measures enacted for player safety.
2. Daub Alderney
Daub Alderney garnered the second-largest fine of the year, also courtesy of the UKGC. The hefty $7.9 million (£5.85/€7 million) penalty was handed down for lack of social responsibility and anti-money laundering shortcomings.
The investigation into Daub Alderney found that players were allowed to deposit over $68,000 (£50,000/€60,000) in a single transaction. This is a clear sign that the operator has no effective AML/anti-terrorist financing policies in place.
Additionally, three customers were allowed to deposit and lose over $54,000 (£40,000/€48,000). In all three cases, little or no action was taken to encourage responsible gambling practices.
3. Caesar’s Entertainment
Caesar’s Entertainment is once again embroiled in scandal. After their record $18.2 million (£13/€15.6 million) fine in 2020, they received another $3.5 million (£2.6/€3.1 million) fine in 2021.
Once again, the company failed to enforce appropriate anti-money laundering protocols. Several customers were allowed to make large deposits with no further investigation. Additionally, they took no action to prevent problem gambling for other customers.
How 2021 Regulatory Fines Stack Up Against Previous Years
Overall, the 2021 report that was released showed a reduction in the total amount of fines levied compared to 2020. In 2021, there was a drop of approximately $5 million (£4/€4.8 million) in total penalties over the previous year.
However, regulators around the world have certainly stepped up their investigations. In many regulated markets, the local governing bodies have tightened their controls for online gambling operators.
Additionally, many regulatory bodies have also turned their scrutiny toward online gambling affiliated as well. In 2021, many affiliate sites received severe financial penalties for illegal activities. Within some jurisdictions, these sites were also banned by local ISPs.
In 2021, the overwhelming majority of gambling companies were found guilty of infractions in five main arenas:
- Failure to implement or adhere to anti-money laundering measures
- Failure to follow social responsibility protocols (e.g., lack of responsible gambling measures or failure to prevent harmful overspending)
- Offering odds on sports matches featuring underage players
- Operating unlicensed domains
- Offering bonuses that are illegal under local gaming laws
In addition to these shortcomings, online gambling affiliates came under heavy fire as well. This is especially true in Australia and the Netherlands. Both countries issued severe penalties to numerous affiliate sites in 2021. In Australia, the ACMA added over a dozen affiliates to its domain blacklist. Additionally, the Kansspelautoriteit took serious action against illegal affiliates.