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Ladbrokes Slapped with Landmark $280k Fine for Systematic Gambling Act Violations in NZ Consumer Protection Case

nz casino gambling
Posted on December 18, 2023

Online gambling operators Ladbrokes were recently fined in New Zealand for breaches of the Gambling Act, reports the World Casino Directory. Specifically, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) found that Ladbrokes allowed people to gamble on credit and did not conduct adequate identity checks, violating rules around interactive gambling set up to protect consumers.

This case highlights some concerning gaps in compliance and diligence. According to the original World Casino Directory article, the DIA uncovered seven separate breaches of the Act. This included failures around age and identity verification, allowing people to gamble on credit, and extending credit without carrying out proper affordability assessments.

While the NZ$280,000 fine imposed on Ladbrokes sends a message about the importance of compliance, more may need to be done. Problem gambling is a serious issue that can destroy lives, and operators like Ladbrokes have a duty of care to customers. Strict enforcement and severe penalties play a role, but the Gambling Act and Codes of Practice must be tightened to close loopholes. Comprehensive affordability and credit checks should be mandatory, for example.

There is also an onus on companies like Ladbrokes, which operates globally, to ensure they have robust responsible gambling policies in place for all markets. These policies must then be implemented through staff training, IT systems, and internal audits. As evidenced here, a failure to conduct adequate identity verification checks is simply unacceptable in the modern digital era.

The issue has broader implications, too, fueling debates about whether gambling does more harm than good. With over 12,000 EGMs in pubs and clubs across New Zealand and rising domestic advertising spending, some public health advocates argue we need regulatory reform. Stricter marketing and age controls, smaller jackpots, and reduced accessibility have been touted.

But for now, the main focus will be on enforcement. This significant fine for Ladbrokes will notify other gambling operators about compliance obligations. It also sends an important message about putting customer welfare over profits.

The full original article can be found on the World Casino Directory website [1].


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