Gambling Commission Sanctions Three Online Gambling Operators

The Gambling Commission has investigated three online gambling operators and has imposed tougher licence condition on them. BGO Entertainment, GAN PLC and NetBet Enterprises have all been sanctioned by the regulator.

The UK regulator has investigated three online gambling operators for failings in their social responsibility and money laundering processes. The Commission launched an inquiry as part of its drive to raise standards through what it describes as “tough” enforcement action.

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UKGC sanctions three online gambling companies ©Pixabay.

Casino, bingo and slot operator BGO Entertainment, business-to-business provider GAN PLC and online casino and sports betting business NetBet were all subjected to licence reviews after a number of failures including; failing to keep consumers safe, failing to prevent money laundering and failing to prevent criminal spend.

After conducting the reviews, BGO Entertainment and Gan PLC have had added conditions imposed on their licences and all three have agreed to improve their procedures and policies to ensure they comply with the rules and regulations as laid out by the regulator. The Commission has stated they will review the actions of Personal Management Licence (PML) holders who are personally responsible for the actions of the companies. All three have been ordered to make payments, in lieu of fines, towards the work of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

Speaking about the investigations and subsequent action, Richard Watson, executive director at the Gambling Commission, said: “Licensees must protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly. Our recent investigations uncovered a variety of consumer protection and anti-money laundering failings at each of these three operators. As a result, we are using a range of enforcement tools against them. We will continue to crack down on failing operators through our tough and proactive compliance and enforcement work.”

In regards to BGO Entertainment, the Commission found that the company failed to have effective policies and procedures in place for customers who may be displaying signs of problem gambling between 25 September 2018 and 23 March 2020. The Commission also found that the company failed to have effective and adequately resourced anti-money laundering controls in place between 25 September 2018 and 21 July 2020.

The Commission stated that as a consequence of these breaches, BGO would have extra stipulations imposed on their licence which involve carrying out extra social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks on its top customers. The business will also pay £2m to support the implementation of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

GAN PLC was found to have failed to comply with four licence conditions, all relate to social responsibility and anti-money laundering measures. The Commission found that GAN had ineffective anti-money laundering policies and procedures. They added that the company didn’t display warnings that underage gambling is an offence on its website and poor customer interaction guidance.

The Commission added extra conditions on GAN’s licence that would mean more reviews of its anti-money laundering procedures and social responsibility policies. The company was also ordered to provide extra training for personal management licence holders and senior staff. The business will also pay £146,000 to progress the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. NetBet were found that between 20 November 2018 and 29 May 2019 they failed to comply with two licence conditions that relate to social responsibility and anti-money laundering. The Commission found that the company had failed to investigate the source of funds documentation carefully enough, and the operator did not implement its responsible gambling policy effectively.

Consequently, NetBet was ordered to make changes to its responsible gambling processes, including giving greater regard to the log-in time of its customers during responsible gambling customer assessments. The company was also told to enforce automatic limits placed on customers demonstrating early signs of problem gambling. They were also told to provide an affordability calculator, to those who are identified as having issues. NetBet was also ordered to pay £748,000 to progress the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

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