This (Thursday) morning the UK Gambling Commission underlined its warnings to online casino licensees to ensure they are compliant with regulations by publishing details of further sanctions it has placed on two more operators, Videoslots and Casumo, following reviews of their operating licenses.
In Casumo’s case the Commission imposed a hefty GBP 5.85 million penalty after warning the company regarding a lack of risk management processes as part of anti-money laundering precautions and in breach of its licensing conditions. The company was also found wanting in responsible gambling and KYC requirements.
The Videoslots sanction was less severe and involved responsible gambling and due diligence faults. It resulted in the company reaching a GBP 1 million settlement with the Commission along with a contribution to the Commission’s investigation costs of GBP 12,000, whilst a third offender, Dr. Vegas operated by CZ Holdings, surrendered its UK licence when a review was instituted.
The fines follow multi-million pound penalties imposed on several leading operators, most recently including Stride Gaming’s Daub Alderney which was hit with a GBP 7.1 million penalty for responsible gambling flaws earlier this year (see previous reports).
In its statement Thursday, the Commission revealed that nine other operators were cautioned regarding their conduct going forward, whilst a further six operators are still under investigation.
Neil McArthur, chief executive at the Gambling Commission said in the regulator’s statement: “I hope today’s announcement will make all online casino operators sit up and pay attention, as 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.”
The statement revealed that the Commission has gone after individuals as well as companies in its latest round of actions; three Personal Licence Holders were required to surrender their certifications; two were issued with letters of reprimand and four were warned regarding their conduct. Three other PML holders remain under investigation.
Explaining the Commission’s position in this regard, McArthur said: “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.”
Casumo has been required to employ a qualified Money Laundering Reporting Officer and ensure that PML holders, senior management and relevant staff take annual refresher courses. The operator must additionally contract external auditors to assess its responsible gambling and AML systems and processes.
A statement issued Thursday by Videoslots confirmed the settlement with the Commission on AML and responsible gambling grounds, and emphasised that the company had cooperated fully with the review.
“We accept there were weaknesses in our systems relating to how we managed our customers for anti-money laundering and social responsibility purposes and have taken proactive and timely action to address all the issues identified,” the company said.
“We have agreed to make a payment in lieu of a financial penalty which will go to a National Responsible Gambling Strategy project or projects to pay for research and treatment as determined appropriate to address the risk of harmful gambling and we have already started putting the lessons learned into practice.”
In related news, it emerged this week that the Swedish Lottery Inspectorate imposed a penalty of SEK 8 million (Euro 780,000) on Casino Cosmopol, a subsidiary of Svenska Spel, for money laundering failings (see previous report)