The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) handed down its largest regulatory fine when it punished Caesars Entertainment for a record £13 million ($18.2 million USD) in April of last year. But Britain’s gaming regulator wasn’t done.
The ongoing investigation into Caesars has resulted in numerous executives with Personal Management License (PML) permits being subject to regulatory action. That’s according to the UKGC announcement this week that
The regulator said seven PML holders received license warnings, two received conduct letters, and three PML licensees surrendered their rights to be involved in gaming operations. Another licensee forfeited their license while under investigation, and another’s PML was revoked after failing to pay annual fees.
Finally, 18 other PML individuals received letters on how to improve their business conduct.
“All personal license holders should be aware that they will be held accountable, where appropriate, for the regulatory failings within the operators they manage,” said UKGC Executive Director Richard Watson.
Caesars operates seven casino clubs in England. The largest is the Empire Casino in London’s Leicester Square. The gaming space measures 20,400 square feet and offers 130 slot machines and 50 table games.
In April of 2020, Caesars’ UK division accepted the record UKGC fine after an investigation found that the casino operator had “systemic failures.” The commission concluded that Caesars “must implement a series of improvements following a catalogue of social responsibility, money laundering, and customer interaction failures.”
The commission determined that Caesars allowed a gambler to wager £820,000 and lose £240,000 without investigating the customer’s source of the funds. Another VIP, who was known to be an at-risk gambler, blew away £795,000. Caesars did not probe the individual’s wealth or source of funds.
The UKGC also found that a woman who said she worked as a waitress was permitted to gamble £87,000 without Caesars asking her about her considerable bankroll.
As for money laundering, Caesars reportedly allowed a customer to move £3.5 million through its casinos without researching the source and flow of the funds.
The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company, and Caesars failed to do this,” said Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UKGC, at the time.
As a result of the investigation, three senior Caesars managers surrendered their personal licenses last year.
The UK is amid a major review of gambling policies and regulations. Critics to the 2005 Gambling Act — and there are many — say gambling in Britain has been detrimental to society.
MP John Whittingdale was appointed as the new head of the review this week. The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) began the probe last fall. Whittingdale is a DCMS member, and his past support of the gaming industry garnered criticism.
“When he was appointed to DCMS back in 2015, it was widely predicted that he would be soft on gambling, and he was. While the Gambling Act is under review, I would have hoped for someone who was at least open-minded,” said MP Ronnie Cowan, who is the vice chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group.
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