Entain record regulatory action not enough, says Gambling with Lives

| By Robert Fletcher
Gambling with Lives, a charity that supports families bereaved by gambling-related suicide, welcomed the GB Gambling Commission’s record action against Entain Group, but warned more must be done to tackle gambling addiction.

Entain was ordered to pay a total of £17.0m (€20.1m/$20.4m) yesterday (17 August) after the Commission identified a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failings across its online and land-based businesses.

This included £14.0m for failures within its LC International Limited online arm, which runs websites including Ladbrokes.com., Coral.co.uk and Foxybingo.com, and £3.0m for failures at its Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited land-based division that operates 2,746 gambling premises across Great Britain.

Although the £17.0m was the highest-ever payment package ordered by the Commission, Will Prochaska, strategy director at Gambling with Lives, said this was not enough and that the regulator should consider other ways of punishing operators. 

Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes yesterday suggested that Entain could potentially lose its licence in Great Britain if the group continues to breach rules and regulations in the market.

“We welcome the Gambling Commission’s action against Entain but it won’t be enough,” Prochaska said. “90% of industry profits come from 5% of customers who are addicted or at risk of addiction, so there is a structural problem in the industry that this payment won’t come close to solving. 

“In fact, we believe that the industry views payments from the Gambling Commission simply as a cost of doing business, and until operating licences are revoked they will not change their business model.

“1.4 million people in the UK are suffering from gambling addiction, and every day at least one person takes their life because of gambling – this is a public health crisis. 

“When Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak take over in September, they must publish the long-awaited Gambling Act Review in full and undiluted.”

Publication of the review has been delayed after Boris Johnson last month resigned as prime minister, with the gambling white paper currently with Johnson for final approval. 

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