Let’s look at what the UKGC does with fines, what kinds of offences are given fines, and how big those fines are.

1) Social responsibility

The single largest regulation which governs UK betting companies is that they are required to operate in a broadly socially responsible way. While this might sound vague and up for interpretation, there are of course specific guidelines under this. Ladbrokes Coral Group, for instance, were fined £5.9 million pounds for, among other things, a lack of social responsibility.

This meant they did not take sufficient steps to prevent problem gambling, and the harm associated with it.

Gambling is a social problem in a way that most other consumer services are not. This is why it is so uniquely regulated, and why social responsibility is so highly emphasised. When the guidelines for social responsibility are not followed, hefty fines can be expected to come your way.

2) Underage gambling

Following on from our last point, another extremely important point of regulation for the gambling industry is on age restrictions. No one under the age of 18 can gamble in any form in the UK, and operators are expected to take steps to prevent this happening. Equally, they’re supposed to prevent their marketing from appealing to the underage.

One incredible statistic found that 9 out 10 pubs in England did not take appropriate steps to prevent children from using gambling machines. Underage gambling is a serious problem which comes under the broader umbrella of social responsibility. Sky Betting was fined around $1.5 million for marketing breaches which include issues of appealing to the underage.

3) Fairness

One of the other big areas that the UKGC must regulate in the UK betting industry is fairness in the betting market. Naturally, betting operators don’t tend to offer fair services if they are not compelled to do so by regulatory authorities. They are a business out to make profit, after all. But, again, you have a social issue with gambling, and the average UK problem gambler is around £10,000 in debt before they seek any help. New betting companies entering the market are a target for the UKGC, and as seen at Findbettingsites.co.uk, they have their work cut out with new companies launching almost every week.

If games are found to be intrinsically unfair, the UKGC will slap big fines on the offending operators.

4) Self-exclusion

Another initiative to reduce the harm of problem gambling has been the introduction of self-exclusion programs, such as Gamstop. These are programs by which bettors can voluntarily exclude themselves from betting with licensed operators for a set period of time. This is to reduce the risk of problem gambling, particularly in addicts.

Proof of involvement in these self-exclusion programs is required to get licensed in the first place, but any breach of the program thereafter will be met with a large fine and even the possibility of getting your licensed revoked.

5) Money laundering

One of the biggest problems with online gambling has been the tendency for it to be used for money laundering. The operator 888 was fined £9.4 million for findings that showed they were failing to act sufficiently to prevent widespread money laundering on their platforms and services.

This is one of the single largest fines they have ever given out. 888 were found to have allowed customers to deposit as much as £40,000 without carrying out necessary checks, and simply accepting verbal validation of the source of income that was being deposited. One customer spent just £65,000 in only 5 months without any SOF checks being carried out.

So, the UKGC clearly is not under any hesitation to hand out huge fines for breaking the rules. The UKGC clearly takes its role very seriously and understands deeply the potential issues that a deregulated betting market can have for the population of a country. That’s why we see such big fines being handed out here and there, and the deterrent this has on other operators from committing the same crimes and offences.