You would think that they might have learnt their lesson by now.
But once again, the Rank Group has felt the full force of the UK Gambling Commission’s powers, and they have been hit with another £700,000 penalty for regulatory breaches – taking their tally to a cool £7 million since 2018.
As ever, the issues are linked to social responsibility failings, and so it means that the operating company behind the online presence of Grosvenor Casino, Mecca Bingo and Bella Casino will once again have to dig deep to pay the penalty.
It begs the question: how many more social responsibility failings will Rank Group be allowed to make before their licence is reviewed?
Counting the Cost
An investigation by the Commission found that Rank had breached three different codes relating to the maintenance of social responsibility standards.
They failed to protect vulnerable players who were exhibiting problem gambling behaviours, and the firm themselves admitted they were overly reliant on their £1,000 30-day loss limit tool to flag up customers that were betting beyond their means.
And the two other breaches were related to the migration to Stride Gaming – the management platform that Rank switched to in 2019. The UKGC’s investigation revealed that self-excluded players were able to open a new account on one of the group’s other casino or bingo sites, with a staggering 1,416 accounts created in this way.
And the report confirmed that a ‘small percentage’ of Rank’s players were able to open more than one account – and that adequate policies were not put into place to link all of these accounts to the same person.
Industry news outlet EGR has revealed that a whistle-blower has told them that the Stride Gaming platform is ‘not fit for purpose’, and that a host of other failings included players using other customers’ account to access Rank’s games and even withdrawals being sent to the wrong bank accounts.
Incredibly, the Rank Group has escaped an outright fine from the Commission, and will instead make a £700,557 payment ‘in lieu of a financial penalty’ to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
The executive director of the Gambling Commission, Helen Venn, said:
“We expect high standards from operators to ensure gambling in Britain is safe and crime free. Those businesses that fail to meet these standards will find themselves facing costly regulatory action.”
You would think that Rank might be keen on getting their online house in order – especially as their bricks and mortar bingo businesses have been struggling so badly these past few years.
But this is a firm that doesn’t seem to worry too much about such things, which explains why their regulatory fines have now passed through the £7 million mark since 2018 alone.
In October of that year, they were forced to pay £500,000 for a major social responsibility breach – one customer being able to wager an astonishing £1 million in just 24 hours on the Grosvenor Casino site.
And that was dwarfed by the meaty £5.85 million they were fined in September 2021 courtesy of one of their subsidiary businesses, Daub Alderney. The operator of Aspers, Kitty Bingo and Spin and Win was found liable for a series of responsibility failings – although Rank claimed they intended to appeal the decision.