Rank subsidiary fails in appeal over £5.8m Gambling Commission fine

A court has rejected an appeal from the Daub Alderney online-focused subsidiary of the Rank Group against a £5.8m (€6.7m/$7.2m) fine handed down by the Great Britain Gambling Commission last year.

Issued in September 2021, the Daub Alderney fine was in relation to a host of social responsibility and anti-money laundering shortcomings uncovered by the Commission during an investigation covering the period between January 2019 and March 2020.

The Commission said Daub Alderney did not have appropriate measures in place to detect or prevent problem gambling in a series of incidents that occurred between these dates.

Daub Alderney appeal

Daub Alderney appealed to the First-Tier Tribunal on the grounds that the financial penalty was excessive, unfair and disproportionate.

However, after examining evidence from both sides, Judge Jacqueline Findlay dismissed the appeal and ruled the financial penalty was a “fair and reasonable regulatory response” to the failings uncovered by the Commission.

2018 fine

In the ruling, Judge Findlay referenced an earlier fine issued to Daub Alderney in November of 2018. The operator was handed a penalty of £7.1m for breaching regulations on money laundering and failing to protect vulnerable consumers.

Judge Findlay said the similarity in the seriousness of regulatory breaches in the two cases meant that the Commission was correct in its decision to issue a second financial penalty.

“I find that there were serious breaches which were similar to the breaches for which a substantial financial penalty was imposed in 2018 and there are no new facts which persuade me that the decision was wrong,” Judge Findlay said. 

“I find that the (Commission Regulatory) Panel did not err in law and complied with its statutory obligations.”

Gambling Commission response

Speaking in response to the ruling, Gambling Commission deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner said the regulator welcomed the decision to dismiss the appeal.

“We do not take the decision to fine gambling companies lightly but we will always take firm, decisive action against operators who fail to follow rules aimed at making gambling safe and free from crime,” Gardner said.

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