Gala Interactive (Gala) will pay £2.3m for breaching regulations which protect consumers.
The action follows the discovery of significant flaws in Gala’s dealings with two high-spending customers who gambled away around £1.3m of stolen money.
Customer A lost £837,545 over 14 months and Customer B lost £432,765 over 11 months. Both lost the money playing Gala’s online games.
A Gambling Commission investigation revealed that Gala failed to effectively interact with the two customers who were displaying problem gambling behaviour. The operator also failed to have in place written policies and procedures that could have curbed the problem gambling behaviour.
An aggravating factor was that during a previous case regarding similar failings, Gala told the Commission that customers of concern would be identified sooner and effectively handled. This assurance was made during the same time that Customer A and Customer B were gambling with Gala.
Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive at the Commission, said: “We will continue to take robust action where we see operator failures that harm consumers and the wider public.
“It is the responsibility of all operators – particularly key decision makers in those companies - to ensure they are protecting their customers and step in when there is behaviour that might indicate problem gambling.
“This did not happen in this case and the £2.3m penalty package should serve as a warning to other operators.”
Customer A was imprisoned for four years for stealing from an employer and Customer B was jailed for four-and-a-half years for acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.
Today’s package comprises:
- £1m payment to fund research relating to the causes of problem gambling1
- Payment of £1.3m to the victims of Customer A and Customer B.
Gala Interactive acknowledged its failings and, in addition to the penalty package, has volunteered to pay a further £200,000 to fund research relating to the causes of problem gambling.
All operators are advised to read Gala Interactive's public statement for further details.
Notes to editors
- Payments made in lieu of a financial penalty as part of a regulatory settlement do not need to be paid into a Consolidated Fund. As a result there is more flexibility about how such monies may be used. See our Statement of principles for determining financial penalties (2.17) for more information.
- Gala has released a further statement on their own website.
- Our approach to enforcement.
- More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
- Useful statistics on the gambling industry.
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Posted on 06 November 2017