Daub Alderney, the former Stride Gaming, has been fined £5.85m by the UK Gambling Commission for anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, in its second such penalty in less than three years.
The company, now owned by Rank Group, also received a formal warning for the violations, which occurred between January 2019 and March 2020, the commission said today.
Daub Alderney operates aspers.com, kittybingo.com, luckypantsbingo.com, luckyvip.com, magicalvegas.com, regalwins.com and spinandwin.com.
Violations include a player that was allowed to lose over £43,000 in four months, despite displaying gambling harm indicators including using four different payment cards in a day and reversing nearly £135,000 in requested withdrawals, the commission said.
Rank has already indicated that it will likely seek to appeal the case to a first-tier tribunal hearing, after the potential fine was nearly doubled following Rank’s appeal of the case within the Gambling Commission.
It would appeal the case to a tribunal “due to equity and public-policy issues”, the company said.
In its August 19 earnings report, the London-listed casino and bingo operator said the Gambling Commission had told the company that it was ready to levy a £3m fine on Daub Alderney.
But Rank said it objected to the fine which it “does not believe fairly reflects [commission’s] findings nor takes account of the significant remedial actions taken by Rank following the acquisition” of Stride and its Daub Alderney unit in October 2019.
Rank said that when it appealed the size of the fine to the commission’s regulatory panel, the fine was increased to almost £5.9m.
Today Helen Venn, a commission executive director, said the regulatory body “recognised that a good proportion of these failures occurred before Rank took control of the business in October 2019 and that there had been improvements since acquisition”.
But she added: “The licensee’s culpability, and the requisite penalty reflecting that culpability, cannot be affected by the fact that its shares have now passed from one set of investors to another. The licensee does not escape or mitigate the consequences of its actions because its shares are sold.”
In November 2018, Stride, or Daub Alderney, was fined £7.1m for AML failings, a sum that was 8 percent of its market capitalisation at the time.
In today’s announcement, the Gambling Commission said another Daub Alderney player lost over £40,000 in a month, yet was sent only two safer-gambling messages and a pop-up warning that had not been evaluated for effectiveness, the regulator said.
Inappropriate AML and terrorist-financing policy failings included a player that was allowed to deposit £50,000 before being asked for evidence of source of funds, the commission wrote.
Another gambler was allowed to deposit over £41,000 in a month without supplying adequate evidence of source of funds.
In another case, a player was allowed to lose £53,000 over eight months, but the only source-of-funds evidence that had been supplied to company was the fact that the player lived in a house worth £233,000, the commission said.
“This case was the result of planned compliance activity and every operator out there should be aware that we will continue to take firm action against those who fail to raise standards,” Venn said.