Betting firm targets ‘blocked’ problem gambler through sister companies

A betting firm is under the spotlight for a possible breach of problem gambling rules less than a year after being hit with a six-figure fine for the same issue.

According to The Guardian, LeoVegas recently accepted £20,000 from a problem gambler, despite being fined £600,000 for accepting similar bets in 2018.

The recovering gambling addict, had his account locked by LeoVegas in May last year, but its sister companies continued to target him up to four times a day with marketing emails, free spins and bonuses.

Thousands of pounds

In January 2019, the gambler set up another account with related company ‘21’ and subsequently gambled around £20,000.

It was only after the company asked for ID verification that they realised the customer was using his mother’s card and blocked his account.

The Gambling Commission is looking into the case, The Guardian said. LeoVegas declined to comment.

‘Immediate action’

Tom Watson MP, who is campaigning for tighter regulations on online gambling, said: “It makes no sense for gambling companies to be doing ID and affordability checks after gamblers have lost huge sums rather than before they’ve placed the bets.

“The whole system seems the wrong way round. We also need to see immediate action to scrap credit card betting and end the practice of bombarding gambling addicts with gambling ads.”

Last summer online casino 32Red was fined £2 million for allowing a problem gambler to spend £750,000 without conducting necessary checks.

And in December, the Gambling Commission fined 19 online betting firms a total of £14 million for failing to protect problem gamblers and prevent money laundering.

Richard Watson, an Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, said: “Operators must take action when they spot signs of problem gambling and should be carefully reviewing all the customers they are having a high level of contact with.”

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