UK Gambling Watchdog Scolds Three Ops for AML, Social Responsibility Failings


The UK Gambling Commission has chastised three locally licensed operators after detecting serious weaknesses in their social responsibility and anti-money laundering practices, news emerged this week.

The watchdog said it has reviewed the UK online gambling licenses held by BGO Entertainment Limited, GAN plc, and NetBet Enterprises Limited as all three were founded to have not done enough to keep their customers safe and prevent potential money laundering and criminal spend.

The Gambling Commission further revealed that it has placed tougher conditions on BGO and GAN and has ordered all three above-mentioned companies to strengthen their policies and procedures relating to responsible gambling and money laundering prevention.

The regulator’s actions are part of a continued effort to reduce the risks of overexposure to gambling among young and vulnerable Brits and the use of gambling websites for money laundering and other financial crimes.

The License Reviews

The UK Gambling Commission conducted reviews into the activities of all three companies to confirm that they violated UK rules and regulations on a number of separate occasions.

The regulator said that BGO was found to have failed to implement effective policies and procedures for customers who might have shown signs of problem gambling in the period between September 2018 and March 2020.

In addition, the gambling operator was found to have not implemented adequate and effective anti-money laundering controls between September 2018 and July 2020.

As for GAN, it was found to have failed to comply with four UK license conditions relating to socially responsible provision of online gambling services and anti-money laundering. GAN, which is better known as a gambling software provider, holds a remote online casino license from the UK Gambling Commission for the Reels Royale brand.

The Gambling Commission said that between August 2018 and September 2019, GAN did not have effective anti-money laundering practices, did not display warnings that underage gambling was prohibited on its website, and did not have adequate customer interaction guidance.

And finally, NetBet was found to have failed to comply with two conditions of its license from the Gambling Commission. Between November 2018 and May 2019, the company failed to carefully scrutinize the source of funds documentation provided by a number of customers and failed to implement effective responsible gambling policies and practices.

Penalties

After completing its reviews into the three companies’ activities in the UK, the local regulator placed tougher license conditions on two of them, with those being BGO and GAN.

BGO’s additional license conditions include carrying out extra social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks on its top 250 customers. In addition, BGO was ordered to pay £2 million to help implement the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

GAN too had additional conditions imposed on its license, including continued renewal of the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and controls and additional training for personal management license holders and senior staff members. The company was also ordered to direct £146,000 toward the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

NetBet has agreed to introduce a number changes to its processes and practices, including paying more thorough attention to the log-in time of its customers during responsible gambling customer assessments, automatic limits on players showing early signs of problem gambling behavior, and offering customers access to an affordability calculator.

The online gambling operator will pay £748,000 to support the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

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