Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In today’s entry we take a look at coronavirus impacts in the US, a record penalty handed down by the UKGC and a potential licence revocation in Sweden.
Online gambling operator Betway has agreed to pay £11.6m for a series of social responsibility and money laundering failings linked to dealings with seven of its high spending customers following a Gambling Commission investigation.
The regulator said that in one instance, the operator failed to carry out source of funds checks on a ‘VIP’ customer who deposited over £8m and lost over £4m during a four-year period. In another, Betway failed to carry out effective social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited and lost £187,000 in two days.
Betway will pay a total of £11.6m consisting of £5.8m payment in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, and will divest a total of £5.8m, the majority of which to go to victims where it has been found, or could reasonably suspected to be, proceeds of crime.
The Swedish Gambling Authority has issued a warning to Entertainment Laboratories that licence revocation could occur due to a lack of activity on the Swedish market.
Enlabs obtained its licence for online gambling and betting on December 17, 2018, before Sweden’s re-regulated igaming market commenced operation on January 1, 2019.
The Spelinspektionen has now stepped in due to long-term inactivity following the licence being issued and the market going live, stressing that should the company not start to operate gaming activities by July, 1, 2020, the licence could be removed.
Enlabs licence is valid until December 31, 2023, and covers a range of domains, including bestbet.com, bestbingo.com, bestcasino.com, bestpoker.com, optibet.com, optibet.se.
Responding to the warning, Baltic facing Enlabs has played down the potential impacts and asserted that its operations will be in effect by the stipulated date.
Kindred Group has lauded its ongoing commitment to safer gambling and sustainability, stressing a vision “to make gambling 100 per cent enjoyable”.
Commenting that “with that in mind we have a clear ambition that zero per cent of our revenue will be derived from harmful gambling,” it comes as the firm publishes its annual sustainability report for 2019.
In the report the group comments on progress on sustainability commitments, including an increase in customers who adopt healthier gambling behaviour after personalised responsible gambling messages.
Furthermore, the group also praises an increased focus on communicating sustainable consumption in the marketing and sponsorship advertisement space, as well as a number of initiatives and partnerships to increase the contribution to the local communities.
Maintaining a commitment to its five core sustainability priority areas, in ‘Responsible Gambling’ Kindred sets a long-term ambition of zero per cent of gross winnings revenue being derived from harmful gambling by 2023.
MGM Resorts International has closed Yonkers Raceway at Empire City Casino, and encouraged workers in the immediate area to self-quarantine, after the firm confirmed the death of one of its employees due to the COVID-19 virus.
The worker was part of the Standardbred Owners Association, and was based in the racing office at Yonkers Raceway.
The company released the following statement: “We just learned that an employee of the Standardbred Owners Association, working in the racing office of Yonkers Raceway, located next to the racetrack and paddock, tested positive for the Coronavirus before passing away.
“His death was announced today by New Jersey officials, as he was a resident of the state. We believe the last time he was on the property to be approximately eight days ago. We offer our condolences to his family during this difficult time.
“As a result of this development, the racetrack will be shut down as of this afternoon, and we have asked employees who worked in the immediate area to self-quarantine.
“We will continue to coordinate with and follow the guidance of health officials and support them in their response and prevention efforts.”