After handing out a £13 million fine to Caesars Entertainment in 2020 for a series of rule breaches, the UK Gambling Commission has gone one step forward by also dishing out sanctions to the firm’s personal management licence (PML) holders.
The ground-breaking ruling saw the casino firm held responsible for a catalogue of responsible gambling and money laundering rule breaks, and the Commission has laid down the law by holding PML holders to account personally.
As a consequence, seven Caesars licence holders have been given an official warning, three have surrendered their licenses following the review and two more have undergone training to ensure the same doesn’t happen again in the future.
Many more PML holders with the brand have been warned as to their future conduct, and as a result Caesars are very much under scrutiny as to how they run their operation.
From failure to conduct personal checks into their guests’ financial history, to accepting wagers from those who appeared to be acting as a money laundered, the rap sheet for Caesars during the investigation period has been extensive, while those held individually responsible ‘failed to take all reasonable steps’ to rectify the issues, according to the UKGC.
One of the firm’s PML holders even had their licence revoked after an ‘altercation’ with a client on the gaming floor.
The executive director at the UKGC, Richard Watson, fired a warning to all gambling firms:
“All personal licence holders should be aware that they will be held accountable, where appropriate, for the regulatory failings within the operators they manage.”
Caesars Penalised for ‘Extremely Serious’ Failings
It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year to forget for Caesars Entertainment, who were facing temporary casino closures and a monumental fine hanging over their heads.
The UKGC had no choice but to implement the fine after the extent of the firm’s failings were made public. They failed to act accordingly when a series of customers, including a retired postman and a self-employed nanny, were allowed to bet thousands on the casino floor without any checks being performed. The latter even admitted gambling with money borrowed from loved ones.
One customer was found to have participated in 30 gambling sessions exceeding five hours within a single year, going on to lose more than £320,000. Another client, who had previously self-excluded themselves, was allowed to wager more than £200,000.
Caesars were also found to have ‘allowed’ money laundering on the premises, with one client pushing £3.5 million through their tables, a waitress spending £87,000 in less than a year and a Politically Exposed Person – somebody who holds a high position of authority in politics – was allowed to wager nearly £800,000.
Caesars, with eleven casinos on UK soil, were fined £13 million, with the UKGC’s chief executive Neil McArthur warning:
“The failings in this case are extremely serious. A culture of putting customer safety at the heart of business decisions should be set from the very top of every company and Caesars failed to do this. We will now continue to investigate the individual licence holders involved with the decisions taken in this case.
“We are absolutely clear about our expectations of operators – whatever type of gambling they offer they must know their customers. They must interact with them and check what they can afford to gamble with – stepping in when they see signs of harm. Consumer safety is non-negotiable.”