Gambling companies were fined nearly £20 million in the last financial year, but the regulator has acknowledged it still has “much more to do”.
In total, the Gambling Commission carried out over 160 investigations during 2018-19 – some of which saw online operators sanctioned over social responsibility failings.
The total fines levied amount to around 0.1 per cent of the industry’s £14.5 billion profits last year.
Spirit of the law
In its annual enforcement report, the Commission explains that its penalty packages totalled £19.6m during the year to April 2019.
Stating its aim in enforcement is to “protect consumers and the wider public”, the Commission warned operators not to depart from the “letter or the spirit” of regulation.
Neil McArthur, the organisation’s Chief Executive, recognised the Commission was far from achieving its overall aim.
The largest fine was aimed at Daub Alderney – which currently owns brands such as “Lucky VIP Casino”. It was ordered to pay £7.1m for failing to follow rules on money laundering and protecting vulnerable consumers.
Last week, the NHS announced its first gambling addiction clinic for young people, amid growing concerns that gambling is destroying their mental health.
Around 55,000 children are said to be gambling addicts.
The NHS will open 14 new addiction clinics around the country, with the specialist young people’s centre providing psychological help to those aged between 13 and 25.
In March, Labour proposed an overhaul of online gambling law saying the Gambling Act it introduced in the mid-2000s is “unfit for the digital age”.
At the time The Christian Institute warned the legislation would lead to the proliferation of gambling.
The party’s new proposals include a system of checks to stop people from betting what they cannot afford.