The UK’s regulatory Gambling Commission is investigating allegations that the Leo Gaming group “bombarded” a known problem gambler with free spins marketing emails.
LeoVegas, the leading online Swedish casino, and its parent company are under investigation by the Gambling Commission for failing to exclude a problem gambler and subsequently send him marketing emails.
The man was first excluded from LeoVegas in May 2018 after a customer service represented flagged up a concerning conversation over live web chat. However, other brands under the Leo Gaming banner like Pink Casino and Castle Jackpot continued to send him bonus and free spins marketing material over email.
Then, in January 2019, the man signed up to 21.co.uk – another Leo Gaming brand. He did so with the same name and contact information as his previous LeoVegas account. However, this time he had signed up with his mother’s debit card. He then proceeded to spend over £20,000 on unsuccessful bets.
However, it wasn’t until after he’d lost all that money that the casino asked for KYC identification, and subsequently blocked his account when they realised he was using somebody else’s card.
The man’s account was first blocked on Leo Vegas just days after the site was slapped with a £600,000 fine from the GC for unrelated instances of taking bets from excluded problem gamblers. The UK’s gambling regulatory body said that Leo Vegas had sent bonus and marketing material to over one thousand customers who had signed up to the self-exclusion scheme.
Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader and strong advocate of stricter gambling regulation said of the incident:
“It makes no sense for gambling companies to be doing ID and affordability checks after gamblers have lost huge sums rather than before they’ve placed the bets.”
New rules will come into effect on 7th May when gamblers will only be able to place bets on a gambling site after they have completed KYC checks. These strong verification checks will also apply to free spins and free play offers effectively ending the concept of no deposit online gambling.
Not only will this strengthen measures against underage children placing bets on gambling sites, it will also increase the robustness of the self-exclusion scheme. From May onwards, the government and the regulatory bodies hope that scenarios like the Leo Vegas one will not be able to happen again.
The problem gambler in question is currently receiving treatment for his addiction. However, he could still be liable for prosecution in the future.