32 Red, shirt sponsor at Ibrox have been fined £7.1m for multiple breaches of the Gambling Charter.
Stringent checks are in place across the industry to ensure that ‘please gamble responsibly’ is more than just a tag line to be attached to advertising material.
Gambling addictions are a massive problem across the UK with companies targetting poorer areas with opportunities to gamble found in every street and on mobile devises with constant advertising online and across sport.
Money laundering is the other major concern attached to the industry with 32 Red found to have broken numerous rules relating to how they do business.
32 Red first appeared on the shirts at Ibrox in 2014, pre-dating the arrival of James Bisgrove.
Announcing a renewed multi-year sponsorship deal in May 2021 the commercial wheeler dealer stated on the club website:
32Red have supported our club for many years of our journey back to the pinnacle of Scottish football and our historic 55th league title.
They’ve been part of our journey both on the pitch and in the community and we are grateful for their fantastic support. They are long-term partners and we hope to continue the successful, winning, relationship for many years to come.
As we embark on our historic 150th anniversary season and looking forward to UEFA Champions League football at Ibrox, it will be symbolic of the strength of our partnership that 32Red and Unibet will be on the front of our shirts.
This morning The Gambling Commission were less thrilled when they announced:
Two online operators 32Red Limited and Platinum Gaming Limited, both part of Kindred Group plc, will pay a £7.1 million penalty for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
32Red Limited, which runs 32red.com, will pay £4,195,655 whilst Platinum Gaming Limited, which runs unibet.co.uk, will pay £2,937,599.
Both have also received an official warning following a Commission investigation.
Social responsibility failures included:
32Red customer gambling session times should have prompted earlier identification of customers who may have been experiencing gambling related harm.
32Red controls were not effective as they failed to identify and protect potential problem gamblers. For example, one customer was allowed to deposit £43,000 and lose £36,000 within seven days.
Customer interactions at 32Red were being carried out and logged, however it was found that they were superficial and lacked depth and probing, with the operator settling for customer assurances that they were comfortable with their level of gambling and that they could afford it.
Platinum Gaming failed to have effective policies and procedures designed to identify separate accounts held by the same individual. For example, self-excluded or blocked customers were able to register on Platinum Gaming after being blocked or self-excluded on the 32Red platform.
Platinum Gaming failed to identify and interact with customers who may have been experiencing harms associated with gambling.
Anti-money laundering failures included:
32Red failed to thoroughly implement the measures described by the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer Regulations 2017).
The customer account reviews identified that financial triggers for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) reviews at 32Red were too high and not appropriate to effectively manage money laundering and terrorist financing risks. Inappropriate controls allowed significant levels of gambling to take place within a short space of time without the operator knowing anything about customers’ financial situations.
32Red customers subject to a Source of Funds (SOF) / Source of Wealth (SOW) request were, in most cases, not restricted from depositing and gambling during the two-week period allowed by the operator to respond to the request. This resulted in further significant depositing and loss activity occurring.
In relation to 32 Red, there was an over reliance on confidence that funds coming through Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated firms mitigated/removed proceeds of crime risk.
One 32Red account was not deposit blocked, in line with its own policy and procedures, after an information request deadline had expired. This allowed the customer to continue depositing, gambling £16,280 in total and losing £8,321 for a further two weeks until their account was blocked.
Platinum Gaming’s policies, procedures and controls in relation to AML were not appropriate.
Platinum Gaming failed to ensure that it’s policies, procedures and controls were kept under review and revised appropriately to ensure that they remained effective.
Kay Roberts, executive director of the Gambling Commission said: “These failures highlight clearly that both operators failed to interact with customers in a way which minimises the risk of them experiencing harms associated with gambling. Our investigations also showed that policies and procedures were overlooked, both around customer accounts and anti-money laundering practices.
“Ultimately, it is an example which all gambling operators should take notice of to ensure they protect their customers at all times.”
The SFA are still without a sponsor the Scottish Cup.