Stride hits out at ‘excessive and disproportionate’ fine

14 November 2018

Stride Gaming has branded a £7.1m (€8.2m/$9.2m) fine for its Daub Alderney subsidiary as “excessive and disproportionate”.

The operator has called on the UK Gambling Commission to lower the penalty, which was issued for serious failings in Daub’s anti-money laundering and player protection controls, to £4m.

Gambling Commission officials noted that issues related to the identification of anti-money laundering risk, such as payment details not matching the customer and duplicate accounts, were not fit for purpose.

This in turn meant that Daub was unable to identify customers with potential gambling problems, such as previously-excluded individuals using new accounts or different payment cards to continue playing.

The company’s own audit found that it had insufficient source of funds (SOF) data on more than 700 account holders who had deposited more than £50,000.

In September Stride said it had set aside £4m as it was expecting to be hit with a “significant financial penalty” for past business practices of one of its subsidiaries.

However, with the fine issued significantly higher than expected, Stride is now calling on the Commission to reconsider its decision, while at the same time ruling out appealing against the findings or penalty.

Stride said it has addressed all of the failings identified by the Commission “in full” and also assessed the controls framework required to meet its licence conditions and codes of practice.

The company added that Deloitte LLP has carried out an independent review of these processes and will now also conduct biennial control audits to assess the operating effectiveness of those controls

Non-executive chairman Nigel Payne accused the UKGC of having presented “certain factual inaccuracies” to the regulatory panel in the course of its investigation. This, Payne argued, had “coloured” the size of the fine that was ultimately issued.

“We are of the view that both the industry and its regulator must be as one in its combined attempt to better regulate the industry and accordingly, we will be seeking to engage with the UKGC to improve the robustness of the process that we have just been through," he added.