News Gambling Commission takes action against online casino operators and senior management

Financial penalties of almost £14million imposed on three companies

“Operators and their senior management have faced significant penalties as a result of failing to implement effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and keep customers safe from gambling related harm.

The GC has today published its findings as part of its wider investigation into the way in which the industry combats problem gambling and money laundering.

Full details of the findings, penalties and settlements can be found here.

The GC’s CEO Neil McArthur has said that “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”.  “Anyone in a position of authority needs to be aware that we will not only act against businesses when we take regulatory action - we will also hold individuals to account where they are responsible for an operator’s failings.”

Investigations into senior management have resulted in three Personal Management Licences being surrendered, four individuals being issued with warnings and two PML holders receiving Advice as to Conduct notices.

Common failings were identified:

  1. Under Licence Condition and Code of Practice 12, relating to the effective implementation of appropriate policies, procedures and controls, which include the completion of business AML risk assessments;
  2. Under Social Responsibility Code 3.4.1 relating to the effective implementation of customer interaction measures where concerns are identified indicating problem gambling behaviour;
  3. Under the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations ensuring that:

    a. customer relationships are continually monitored;
    b. effective implementation of enhanced due diligence processes are applied on a risk sensitive basis;
    c. full records are maintained to support customer due diligence checks; and
    d. effective and sufficient training is provided for staff members appropriate to their position.   

The investigations highlight the Gambling Commission’s focus on online operators and the requirements of effective management throughout a licensee’s management structure.

Operators are advised to read the Gambling Commission’s ‘lessons to be learned regarding this investigation’ statement