The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has gathered £58.9 million in financial penalties and voluntary settlements over the last five and a half years, according to figures obtained by the Gambling Business Group (GBG). The period in question ran from June 2014 to December 2019.
According to the figures, which were obtained by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the UKGC spent £756,997 on meeting their own costs incurred during the investigations. Of the remaining amount, £24 million was spent in recompensing those who had been the victims of illegal gambling and breaches in the rules, while £34.8 million went towards social responsibility projects.
According to the chief executive of the GBG, Peter Hannibal, they had attempted to get the information through other channels, but had not received any response from the UKGC, as the regulator said that the request was not a priority and so were forced to make a FoI request.
The £58.9 million reported by the UKGC was collected through a total of 39 penalties and settlements. The biggest of these was the £7.8 million penalty paid out by the betting company 888 in 2017 after it was found to have significant flaws in its own social responsibility policies. The fine included repaying £3 million in deposits that had been made by self-excluded individuals.
But in his comments on the figures, Hannibal said that he was disappointed that the UKGC had appeared not to have carried out checks on how effective their spending had been:
“Apart from the straightforward issue of why did it take an FOI request to get this information in the first place, it appears that the Commission does not have an independent process in place for checking whether the funds they have allocated to socially responsible purposes have been spent effectively and have delivered the impact intended.”