The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has taken regulatory action against Lottoland operator EU Lotto, fining the firm £760,000 for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
An investigation by the regulator concluded on 2 September that the company had failed to properly implement Commission’s formal customer interaction guidance, such as neglecting to recognise frequently changing deposit limits as an indicator of gambling-related harm among some customers.
Additional service related failings included a lack of evidence of ‘suitable financial and affordability investments’ to identify whether customers were experiencing harm or at risk of it, whilst also criticising the operator’s responsible gaming interactions with users.
According to the Commission, most interactions with users consisted of an email explaining responsible gaming tools available without the requirement for a customer response, and the regulator has argued that ‘there was little evidence of interactions being adapted depending on the extent of potential harm’.
Helen Venn, UKGC Executive Director, said: “This case, like other recent enforcement actions, was the result of planned compliance activity. All operators should be very aware that we will not hesitate to take firm action against those who fail to meet the high standards we expect for consumers in Britain.”
Additionally, with regards to AML shortcomings, the UKGC investigation found that the Lottoland operator failed to effectively review or analyse bank statements to prove customer’s addresses and had not restricted accounts following source of funds requests.
Customers had also been permitted to register third-party debit cards – in some cases in a different name to the user in question – to their account, whilst the firm was also accused of being heavily reliant on ‘ineffective threshold triggers’ and ‘generally lacking information’ on customer spending limits based on income, wealth and other risk factors.
“Lottoland is fully committed to ensuring the highest standards of compliance, including its anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations in all of the jurisdictions in which it operates,” remarked Nigel Birrell, Lottoland CEO.
“The Gambling Commission fine was related to legacy issues around some of our compliance controls which have now been addressed. Lottoland has extensive compliance measures in place and we are confident that our current policies and processes meet all relevant standards.
“Remedial action taken included significantly increased investment in our compliance function, more than doubling headcount, alongside a host of other initiatives including bringing in third party support, enhancing training and a review of key policies. In addition, we recently committed to building our individual processes into an automated system to improve the system even further.”
EU Lotto is the second major company to face a UKGC fine for social responsibility and AML failings in recent months, following the regulator’s £5.85 million penalty against Rank Group subsidiary Daub Alderney.