UK High Court case launched against Ladbrokes

Two weeks after being hit with the largest regulatory penalty in UK betting history, Entain is now back under the legal spotlight, as reported by The Times.

The paper reports that a high-staking bettor named Simon Rose placed wagers with Ladbrokes in the UK and UAE between 2015 and May 2016, and is now lodging a High Court claim against the operator.

Rose has accused Ladbrokes of failing to carry out source of funds checks or monitor his betting activity, having placed a total of £1.8m and losing £231,000 over seven months, with affordability checks only conducted after a loss of £100,000.

Despite being on take-home pay of £3,000 a month, Rose bet an average of £18,000 a day when active – the case, therefore, argues that had Ladbrokes carried out appropriate affordability checks, he would not have been allowed to wager so highly.

Additionally, Rose claims that he was able to increase his weekly deposit limit from £1,000 to £20,000 a day by April 2016, before self-exclusion from the operator the following month. 

Ladbrokes has denied violating any license conditions, whilst Entain has stressed that the incidents in question occurred two years prior to its acquisition of the Ladbrokes Coral group in 2017.

The £17m charge has been split between Ladbrokes – which took on £3m for shortcomings in its high-street betting shops – and LC International – which operates 13 of Entain’s betting and gaming websites and shouldered the bulk of the penalty at £14m.

Specifics of the case relating to Ladbrokes saw staff at some locations fail to escalate and engage with customers considered to be at risk of problem gambling. 

Another incident involved a customer staking £168,000 on shop self-service betting terminals (SSBTs) over eight months before staff members conducted problem gambling interactions.

Entain highlighted that the breaches had occurred before the company had been accredited by GamCare on social responsibility and implemented its Advanced Responsibility and Care (ARC) program.

Similar allegations have been reported recently against other operators in the UK as well.

With the Gambling Act review White Paper and its conclusions for the regulatory future of UK betting due for publication next month, and penalties mounting against operators, some have pointed to the need for a gambling ombudsman to avoid legal disputes such as Rose’s case against Entain.

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