Online Casino Firms have been paying out heavy fines to the UKGC

United Kingdom Gambling Commission is the regulatory body in charge of overseeing the fairness of mobile casinos in the UK. This organization is known for taking swift action when needed and has fined casinos huge amounts over the years for breaking the rules. They diligently work towards maintaining a level playing field, while taking measures to protect the most vulnerable players. Recently, online casino firms had to pay out heavy fines for failing to fight money-laundering and protect problem gamblers.

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Gambling operators fined £19.6m in 2019

The UK GC was particularly active in 2019, as the online gambling market in the United Kingdom kept expanding. UK gambling firms came under their scrutiny and many were found lacking, which resulted in a combined £19.6m in penalties. More than a third of the money paid came from Daub Alderney, while Paddy Power Betfair were also charged £2.2m for their transgressions. The other half of the fines came from other gambling operators who were unable or unwilling to respect their legal obligations.

The Gambling Commission was looking for repeat offenders and had no problem in finding such online casinos. One of the biggest concerns was in regard to online casino firms allowing problem gamblers to keep playing. In many cases, they failed to prevent players from gambling beyond their personal affordability, which led to financial ruin. Online casinos and bookmakers who apply for a license from the UK GC are expected to protect vulnerable punters, but they often fail in their quest.

The impact of the UK GC fines

Delinquent gambling operators were fined heavily to serve as an example for other online casinos and bookmakers that might be tempted to break the rules. £19.6m is a lot of money, but it only represents less than 1% of the yearly profits recorded by the industry. Studies highlight the fact that the amount is also low when compared to the gambling related harm that is estimated to be inflicted upon UK punters.

A significant percentage of the fines went to the Treasury, who got £13m while the rest of the amount went to the affected consumers. What the UK GC tries to achieve is to discourage online casinos from preying on the most vulnerable players. Studies clearly indicate the fact that a significant percentage of the money made by online gambling operators comes from a small number of punters. They only represent a fraction of the players’ pool, so the losses they suffer are massive.

Players who feel the risk of gambling addiction can self-exclude temporarily or permanently from online casinos. The Gambling Commission is particularly harsh on those casinos who continue to accept bets from players who chose to self excluded. The heavy fines should have a deterring effect, but they only represent a small percentage of the industry profits. At the end of the day, players need to exercise restraint and enjoy the games moderately to keep online gambling fun and secure. 

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