The Swedish online casino firm, LeoVegas, are in hot water after being fined £1.3 million by the UK Gambling Commission after breaching a number of licensing requirements. The operator, whose brands include the LeoVegas casino, as well as BetUK and SlotBoss, will fork out the seven-figure sum after a catalogue of failures were discovered in their social responsibility and anti-money laundering practices.
The Stockholm-based firm will also have to voluntarily agree to ongoing audits, while being handed an official warning about their future conduct. The Commission pointed to a number of failings in their investigation, which include inappropriately high spending triggers for their safer gambling team to act upon, allowing casino gamers to play for six hours in a row without any cooling off period being required and failing to interact with customers who were exhibiting problem gambling behaviours.
LeoVegas were also found liable for a number of anti-money laundering breaches, which included ‘unrealistic’ triggers that were too high to identify potentially improper spending, ‘inadequate’ information about how a player funded their account and a lack of emphasis on determining high rollers’ income and general wealth.
The director of enforcement and intelligence at the Gambling Commission, Leanne Oxley, warned other operators to get their house in order to avoid similar sanctions. She said:
We identified this through focused compliance activity, and we will continue to take action against other operators if they do not learn the lessons our enforcement work is providing. This case is a further example of operators failing to protect customers and failing to be alive to money laundering risks within their business.
Ups & Downs
Although the financial loss suffered by LeoVegas won’t hurt them too greatly in the grand scheme of things, it continues what has been a rollercoaster ride for the Scandinavian firm so far in 2022.
Things got off to a decent enough start when they revealed their first quarter earnings, and they showed a revenue increase of 2% year on year – that’s €98.5 million, or £82.4 million, in real terms. In April, they picked up the prestigious Online Casino of the Year gong at the Global Gaming Awards – the fifth time in a row they had won the prize, and an obvious nod to the quality of their casino division.
Things took a rather interesting turn in May when it was reported that MGM Resorts International had shown an interest in buying LeoVegas. It was suggested that the American firm were prepared to pay $607 million – nearly £500 million – to acquire the Swedish outfit, and while the trail has gone slightly cold on that in recent months it is thought that the offer remains on the table.
However, you can forgive MGM for being reluctant to press on with their takeover given that, in June, LeoVegas became embroiled in an insider trading scandal. It’s thought that is linked to MGM’s takeover bid, with the alleged presumption being that LeoVegas employees – aware of the offer from the American giant – brought a large quantity of shares in the firm to profit once the news became public. What else will 2022 bring for this online casino firm where life is never dull!