In the first half of 2023, gambling regulators across Europe, North America, and Australia have collectively issued fines totaling €75.2 million / £64.5 million / $81.4 million.
While this represents a 7.6% decrease compared to the same period in 2022 when fines amounted to €81.4 million / £70.1 million / $85.4 million, it is important to note that the current total does not include the proposed AU$450 million (€275 million) penalty against Crown Resorts, which is awaiting approval from the Australian Federal Court.
Among the regulators, the Netherlands gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has emerged as the busiest, imposing 14 financial penalties amounting to €10.5 million / £9 million / $11.4 million. Notably, the highest penalty issued by the KSA was a €4.4 million fine collected from online gambling operator Gammix, which had repeatedly ignored warnings related to unlicensed gambling products operating in the Dutch market.
Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued 11 penalties totaling €43.1 million / £36.9 million / $46.7 million, accounting for 57.3% of all fines issued in the first half of 2023. The UKGC's largest financial penalty during this period was a record-breaking £19.2 million (€21.8 million / $24.3 million) fine imposed on William Hill for significant social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. This fine surpassed the previous record of £17 million imposed on Entain in August 2022.
Australia has also seen multiple regulators and courts issue six financial penalties amounting to €12.7 million / £10.9 million / $13.8 million / AU$20.9 million. Notably, the pending AU$450 million penalty proposed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) against Crown Resorts awaits approval from the Federal Court of Australia. A hearing scheduled for July 10th will determine whether the court will approve, reduce, or increase the penalty.
Sweden's regulator, Spelinspektionen, has imposed three fines totaling €7.5 million / £6.4 million / $8.2 million. In comparison, fines in North America, particularly in the US and Canada, have remained relatively low, with no penalties exceeding $1 million during the first half of 2023.
Richard Schuetz, a former member of the California Gambling Control Commission, expressed concern that fines have become a routine operating expense for gambling companies, suggesting the need for more significant penalties to induce behavioral changes within the industry. However, no major suspensions of gaming licenses have occurred thus far in 2023.
While the total fines issued in the first half of the year have not surpassed the record-breaking €257.3 million / £220.9 million / $269.5 million issued in 2022, the inclusion of Crown Resorts' proposed penalty, if approved, would significantly contribute to surpassing last year's record total.
By fLEXI tEAM