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UKGC fines Aspers Stratford Casino for failure to protect player

Aspers' Stratford City Casino will pay a fine of £652,500 and forgo profits of £78,233 due to regulatory errors.

Aspers failed to ask clients for large sums of money

The UK Gambling Commission has imposed a sanction of £652,500 ($890,000) on Aspers Stratford City Casino following an investigation showing breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility obligations.

In December 2018.The Commission launched a review of Aspers Stratford's operating licence following the tragic death of a person by suicide shortly after visiting a London casino.

Huseyin Yaman, 37, lost £25,000 in one night on roulette and fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) at Aspers Casino in Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, east London. Yaman, who owned shares in the Turkish supermarket, left the gambling venue in distress and later took his own life in his north London flat.

"The circumstances of the death were investigated by the police and coroner. As the regulator, we investigated the management of the individual at the casino and found flaws in the company's anti-money laundering, social responsibility and customer interaction procedures."

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive, UK Gambling Commission

Yaman spent £46,920 and £51,000 in cash at Aspers on September 2 and 3, 2017 respectively, Without any inquiries on behalf of the casino. The businessman made additional cash purchases of £5190, £5660 and £6100 between September and November 2018. , And made the last one the day before his death.

The results of the investigation indicate non-compliance with regulatory requirements such as anti-money laundering, social responsibility and customer interaction policies and processes that allowed the individual to suffer significant losses on the spot.

The Commission has issued a warning to Aspers Stratford for failing to comply with anti-money laundering procedures, as well as breaching customer interaction and cashiering rules. In addition to the financial sanction, Aspers Stratford agreed to dispose of gross gambling profits of £78,233 , which it had accumulated as a result of its failures in relation to Yaman and another customer.

UKGC may intervene with new recommendations at a later stage

Aspers Stratford is required to conduct a follow-up independent audit of its policies and procedures within six months to ensure that improvements to policies are working. If necessary, the Commission may require further recommendations to be implemented.

McArthur added that the Commission will continue to watch the matter and stressed the need for clear policies and their proper implementation by staff properly trained in detecting harmful gambling behavior.

FOBTs are often criticized due to the high prevalence of "problem gambling" among users of such slot machines. The British government lowered the maximum betting limit for FOBTs from £100 to £2 in April 2019.

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