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Global Gambling Regulators Impose Record-breaking Fines in 2023

The year 2023 witnessed a dynamic and impactful period for regulators in the global gambling industry, as they collectively administered a staggering 42.3% year-on-year surge in financial penalties, reaching an unprecedented total of $442.6 million (€402 million/£347.7 million). This substantial increase reflects a heightened focus on regulatory compliance and the enforcement of responsible gambling standards.

Global Gambling Regulators Impose Record-breaking Fines in 2023

Australia and the UK Lead with Record-breaking Penalties:

Australian state gambling regulators took center stage in this surge, issuing an extraordinary AU$457.6 million in fines to gambling operators. This notable sum was largely propelled by a monumental AU$450 million fine imposed on Crown Resorts by The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). The fine was the result of Crown Resorts being found guilty of severe breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). Crown's AU$450 million penalty stands as the largest settlement or fine ever paid by a gambling operator, surpassing its own previous record of AU$120 million in 2022.

Simultaneously, the UK Gambling Commission reported fines and agreed settlements totaling £214.2 million in 2023. This aligns with the publication of the long-awaited White Paper on Gambling Reform. The most substantial fine of the year, a UK record £19.2 million, was levied against the William Hill Group. This significant penalty was attributed to serious social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures at three of the group's gambling businesses. The fines were distributed among WHG International Limited (£12.5 million), Mr Green Limited (£3.7 million), and William Hill Organization Limited (£3 million), which operates the group's 1,344 retail bookmakers across the UK.

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Global Overview of Fines by Country:

Canada's province of Ontario emerged as the only gambling regulator in the country to disclose details of fines issued in 2023. Following the successful launch of Ontario's iGaming industry in 2022, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued a total of seven fines during the year. The most substantial fine, amounting to CA$150,000, was imposed on PointsBet for violations of internet gaming responsible gambling standards.

In the United States, fines across states with legal gambling amounted to a modest $1.6 million. The most significant fine of the year, $400,000, was issued by the Colorado state gaming regulator to Nevada-based Monarch Casinos & Resort. The penalty followed an investigation revealing sportsbook employees placing proxy bets for out-of-state customers.

The Netherlands gambling authority, de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), emerged as one of the most active regulators in 2023, imposing a total of 21 financial penalties and settlements on both online and land-based gambling operators. The most substantial fine issued by the KSA amounted to €6,794,000 and targeted Goldwin Limited for operating in the Dutch market without a license.

The surge in fines throughout 2023 underscores the global regulatory commitment to maintaining industry integrity, ensuring compliance, and safeguarding consumers in the fast-evolving gambling landscape. The records set in Australia and the UK highlight the necessity of stringent measures to address challenges and uphold responsible gambling practices across jurisdictions.

Fines by Country:

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