An investigation launched in January comes to a harsh end for four of the 17 online casino operators flagged by the UKGC as falling short of their obligation to combat problem gambling and money laundering.
Daub Alderney, Casumo and Videoslots have been ordered to pay a total of about 24 million dollars in penalties for having failed to meet the regulator’s requirements. A fourth company, CZ Holdings, saw its gaming licence revoked and will no longer be operating within Great Britain as a result.
These sanctions, announced on November 29 by the Gambling Commission, follow the organization’s strategic plan aimed at tightening the reins on operators and individuals responsible for managing fraud detection and prevention of gambling addiction.
A Videoslots spokesperson commented rather candidly: “We are pleased that the Gambling Commission recognizes that we were open and transparent from the outset of their investigation and fully cooperative throughout.”
When The Brits Lose Their Sense Of Humour
Operators may admit their flaws with a smile, but the Commission’s CEO Neil McArthur isn’t joking: “Our investigations found that a large number of operators and their senior management were not meeting their obligations. It is not enough to have policies and procedures in place. Everyone in a gambling business must understand its policies and procedures and take responsibility for properly applying them.
Mr McArthur added: “We expect operators to know their customers and to ask the right questions to make sure they meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
A Long-Winded Affair
Seventeen online casino operators had originally been identified as non-compliant with money laundering, terrorist financing and customer interaction requirements. In a letter to these companies, the UKGC mentioned serious shortcomings not only in fraud detection, but also in terms of social responsibilities and protection of problem gamblers.
Among the criticisms raised, reporting officers tasked with detecting money laundering were said to be lacking formal qualification, while not enough information was transmitted to law enforcement officials about suspicious activities detected on their platforms. These shortcomings, as well as failure to discern customers showing signs of gambling addiction, would have led the regulator to consider withdrawing licences for at least five of the 17 operators concerned.
In its relentless pursuit of a safer and fairer gambling market, the UKGC made it clear it will not limit itself to sanctioning businesses; senior managers will also be held accountable whenever they are deemed responsible for an operator’s failings. To date, three personal licence holders have seen their rights revoked, and a number of others have been issued warnings.