A multi-million-pound fine appeal has been rejected in the UK.
Rank Group subsidiary Daub Alderney had been appealing a £5.8m (€6.7m/$7.2m) fine from the UK Gambling Commission.
The fine was originally issued in September 2021. The Commission’s investigation into Daub Alderney’s operations from January 2019 to March 2020 discovered a series of social responsibility and money laundering violations which the Commission attributed to a lack of appropriate measures in place to detect or prevent problem gambling.
Grounds for Appeal
Daub Alderney contested the Commission’s decision with the First-Tier Tribunal on the grounds that the financial penalty was “excessive, unfair, and disproportionate.”
Upholding the Fine
Judge Jacqueline Findlay dismissed the appeal, ruling the Commission’s fines to be a “fair and reasonable regulatory response” to Daub Alderney’s failings.
A key precedent in Findlay’s decision was a previous £7.1m penalty for laundering and customer protection failures fine issued to Daub Alderney in November of 2018:
“I find that there were serious breaches which were similar to the breaches for which a substantial financial penalty was imposed in 2018 and there are no new facts which persuade me that the decision was wrong.”
Concurring with the Fine
Thus, Findlay concurred with the propriety of the fine:
“I find that the (Commission Regulatory) Panel did not err in law and complied with its statutory obligations.”
Commission Spokesperson Speaks
As for the impact of the fine rejection on the credibility of the updated regulation environment in iGaming’s largest and most prominent jurisdiction, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Sarah Gardner expressed her organisation’s reaction:
“We do not take the decision to fine gambling companies lightly, but we will always take firm, decisive action against operators who fail to follow the rules aimed at making gambling safe and free from crime.”
Daub Alderney’s UK Operations
Acquired by Rank Group in October 2019, Daub Alderney operates several gaming platforms, including aspers.com, kittybingo.com, luckypantsbingo.com, luckyvip.com, magicalvegas.com, regalwins.com, and spinandwin.com.
Examples of the violations that took place across all of these platforms include allowing activities without sufficient proof of funds: specific incidents include deposits from one player of up to £50,000 ($68,870); deposits of £41,500 ($57,150) in just a month for another player; and a third player losing £53,000 ($73,000).
The long list of violations the fine suggests appears surprising in light of the previous breaches Daub Alderney had been cited for. The repeat offences make the fine and the appeal rejection appear reasonable as a firm confirmation of the equity and enforceability of the new Commission guidelines.