A gambling business will pay a £6 million penalty after a Commission investigation revealed social responsibility and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) failings.
Gamesys Operations Limited – which operates 16 websites including ballycasino.co.uk, doublebubblebingo.com, jackpotjoy.com and megawayscasino.com – will also have to undergo a third-party audit to ensure it is effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and safer gambling policies, procedures and controls.
The failures were revealed during a Commission compliance assessment in May 2022.
Social responsibility failures included:
- not always identifying customers at risk of experiencing harms associated with gambling by:
- placing inappropriate reliance on checks which indicate whether a customer had a historical individual voluntary arrangement or been bankrupt or insolvent as a sign of gambling harm
- having a system of deposit limits which, for some customers, did not identify risks of harm quickly enough – no risks were identified when one customer deposited £8255 within three days of opening an account, another lost £5968 within five weeks of opening an account and another lost £17,482 within 34 days of opening an account
- not always interacting with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing harms associated with gambling. Examples include:
- only interacting with one customer once they had lost almost £10,000, and that “responsible gambling interaction” involved the recommendation of new games and promotions
- carrying out only one responsible gambling interaction with a consumer who lost £19,709 over five months
- records of interactions, considerations and rationale for decisions were not always recorded in sufficient detail, despite this being specified in the Licensee’s responsible gambling procedures.
Anti-money laundering failures included:
- in certain circumstances, some customers were able to evade some of the Licensee’s AML triggers/thresholds and go on to spend significant sums without AML checks being conducted – one customer deposited £14,585 in a 28 week period, another deposited £18,884 in just over six months and another deposited £34,280 in five and a half months
- conducting inadequate customer due diligence and being over-reliant on third party information (such as internet research) or the customer’s verbal assurances for a number of customers, including one who deposited over £25,000 in three months, another who deposited over £58,000 in six months, and another who deposited over £65,000 in six months
- having a “Reinvestment of winnings policy” which was insufficient to mitigate the risk that deposited funds could be from illegitimate sources and not just from previous winnings.
Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations at UKGC, said: “Our focus as a regulator is to ensure that operators are employing policies and procedures which make gambling fair, safe and crime-free. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and whenever we find failures in policies and procedures then the business can expect significant regulatory action.”