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LeoVegas Penalized by U.K. Gambling Commission

Logo of LeoVegas

Internet casino provider and bookmaker LeoVegas has incurred the wrath of the U.K. Gambling Commission and is being forced to pay a penalty of £627,000. For our non UK readers, this is approximately $850,000 USD at current exchange rates. This judgment stems from LeoVegas' misleading advertisements, failure to repay the balances of self-excluded individuals, and allowing self-excluded customers to gamble on its online platform. This case is thoroughly described in a posting on the Gambling Commission's website dated May 2, 2018.

About the Infractions

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Between April 2017 and January 2018, LeoVegas and its affiliates released 41 advertisements that the UKGC found to be misleading. 31 of them did not contain enough information about the terms and conditions of promotional offers, and 10 of them were found to be too unclear. Making these offenses more severe was the fact that the gambling operator had previously been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority in March 2017 and again in June 2017 about confusing or misleading advertisements.

Perhaps more serious, because it relates directly to customers' finances, LeoVegas failed to return the account balances of 11,205 users who had excluded themselves from using its gaming services. The total cash involved amounted to approximately £14,429 with most balances being less than £100.

LeoVegas Website
Home Page of LeoVegas

Under the gambling rules in effect in the United Kingdom, self-exclusion stays in force for seven years after the period that the customer chooses unless that individual takes proactive steps to return to gambling. LeoVegas broke this stipulation by sending marketing materials to 1,894 self-excluded customers after their term of exclusion was over but before they had taken any positive action toward reinstating their accounts.

Even worse, 413 of them were able to deposit and wager at LeoVegas. They deposited a total of about £200,000. However, LeoVegas, on its own initiative, returned a sum of about £117,000 to any of these accounts that had more deposits than withdrawals.

Regulatory Settlement

The package of penalties that LeoVegas was assessed consists of three parts:

  • Payment in lieu of financial penalty of £600,000
  • Repayment of all £14,429 in cash balances held in self-excluded accounts
  • £13,000 toward the Gambling Commission's investigation costs

Changes at LeoVegas

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LeoVegas has modified some of its business practices to prevent similar issues from occurring in future. It will hire a marketing compliance officer in both its legal and affiliate divisions to ensure compliance with the relevant advertising standards. It will also make alterations to its existing affiliate strategy, including limiting the number of affiliates and updating its affiliate terms and conditions.

The company has now set up procedures to return account balances within 48 hours of any self-exclusion. Furthermore, it will reconcile these accounts every quarter. In cases where balances cannot be returned or whenever they are less than £100, it will donate an equivalent sum to charity.

LeoVegas admitted that its efforts to prevent self-excluded gamblers from returning were insufficient. It has enhanced its system to make it more compliant with the applicable regulatory guidelines.

Recent Gambling Commission Decisions

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LeoVegas is by no means the first online gaming firm to come under the vigilant scrutiny of the U.K. Gambling Commission. For instance, TabCorp had to pay a fine last month for violations committed by its Sunbets property last year. Other big names that have been penalized recently include Skybet, William Hill, and bwin.

The Gambling Commission works closely with the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA generally issues rulings with guidance on what counts as a violation of the BCAP code, and it sometimes directs organizations to stop showing specific ads or to cease producing similar material in the future. Recently, the ASA took exception to an ad produced by PokerStars and ordered it to be pulled from the airwaves.

Even mere gambling affiliates sometimes attract the scrutiny of the regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom. is a website devoted to matched betting – that is, arranging promotional free bets from different bookmakers in such a way that they offset each other and deliver a guaranteed return to the bettor. Oddsmonkey has signup instructions, using its afflinks, to prominent online bookies along with instructional guides and testimonials from real users who have employed matched betting strategies to earn an income.

On May 2, the ASA determined that Oddsmonkey breached the CAP Code rules about making unsubstantiated claims and misleading advertising. The most ridiculous line in the ruling, in our opinion, was: “However, we noted that the process – which included meeting the requirements to unlock the 'free' bets and manually placing the correct bets with separate gambling operators simultaneously while odds fluctuated – was long-winded and open to human error.”

Basically, browsing to the websites of the various bookmakers to place free bets for guaranteed profits is too confusing and prone to error for the average consumer. We're not sure what's coming next – maybe adverts for Texas Hold'em tournaments will be prohibited because tracking the size of the pot, calculating odds and outs, and figuring out what hands beat which other hands is “long-winded and open to human error”?

About LeoVegas

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LeoVegas is a Swedish gambling company founded in 2011 with an emphasis on mobile compatibility and fast-loading pages. It has a heavy presence in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the United Kingdom, but it transacts around the world. LeoVegas is licensed by the Malta Lottery and Gaming Authority.

The £627,000 that the enterprise must turn over undoubtedly stings. However, with 2017 revenues of €217 m (£191.6 m) and profits of €19.9 m (£17.6 m), it will probably be able to weather the storm without too great a hit to its bottom line.