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Rank fined £500K over protection failures

| By iGB Editorial Team
Grosvenor customer lost £1m during a 24-hour period

Rank Group has been fined £500,000 (€572,500/$657,400) by the UK Gambling Commission for breaching problem gambling rules, after a customer lost £1m in a single 24-hour period.

The customer in question gambled “substantial amounts” at Rank’s land-based Grosvenor Casino and online via Grosvenorcasinos.com after £1m was credited to his account.

A Commission investigation found that Rank failed to interact with the customer who was displaying problematic behaviour. The company was also found to have contacted the customer during a period of self-exclusion and failed to adhere to Commission rules regarding the provision of credit.

Richard Watson, executive director at the Commission, said: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who maybe experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.

“No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded.”

However, Watson did praise the immediate response from Rank, saying it took “positive action” over the incident. As a result, the Commission issued a lower fine.

Watson said: “This penalty package would have been a lot higher were it not for the positive action Rank took in terms of self-reporting their failures and being open and transparent during our investigation.”

The fine will come as a further blow to Rank, which in August announced an 8% year-on-year drop in operating profit to £20.9m in 2017. Revenue growth also lost momentum, climbing 9.9% compared to 15% in the previous year.

The Gambling Commission has pledged to tackle problem gambling as part of a wider effort to improve standards across the sector. The regulator has called on the industry to “step up” and support the body with this drive.

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