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Gala Interactive to pay £2.3m penalty package

Online casino operator Gala Interactive have accepted that failures identified by the Gambling Commission fell short of acceptable standards.

An investigation revealed that Gala failed to effectively interact with two customers who were displaying problem gambling behaviour. The operator also failed to have in place written policies and procedures that could have curbed the problem gambling behaviour.

One customer lost £837,545 and another £432,765 in a year. Both lost the money playing at Gala's online casino using stolen funds.

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Sarah Harrison, Chief Executive at the Gambling Commission said today: "We will continue to take robust action where we see operator failures that harm consumers and the wider public."

She added: "It is the responsibility of all operators - particularly key decision makers in those companies - to ensure they are protecting their customers and step in when there is behaviour that might indicate problem gambling. This did not happen in this case and the £2.3m penalty package should serve as a warning to other operators."

At an earlier hearing, the first player was imprisoned for four years for stealing from an employer and the other was jailed for four-and-a-half years for acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.

Gala chief executive Jim Mullen said: "The sector has an obligation to look to help customers help themselves and to seek to protect the vulnerable where self-help is evidently not going to happen."

Jim Mullen added: "While we will always be exposed to risk of people failing to follow procedures, we accept that, in this case, the failings were evidence of a lack of priority being given to changes in approach identified in earlier engagements."

Gala Interactive acknowledged it's failings and in addition to the penalty package, has volunteered to pay a further £200,000 to fund research relating to the causes of problem gambling.

 

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