Gambling Commission warns five operators could lose their UK licence

The UK Gambling Commission has begun investigations into seventeen online casinos, five of which could soon undergo a licence review, after it found the operators are not doing enough to identify and prevent money laundering.

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The Commission has written to 17 operators warning about failures regarding anti-money laundering controls. © Pexels.

The Commission had already issued a letter to all operators in the sector, which mentioned failures in anti-money laundering and social responsibility protections, along with highlighting processes that should be in-place to tackle these issues. The letter also made reference to firms still failing to do enough to identify and prevent problem gambling.

The letter was issued as part of the Commission’s review into whether operators in the sector are meeting their obligations in regard to anti-money laundering.

However, the serious nature of the initial findings of this review now means that formal investigations have been opened into seventeen operators, five of which are at risk of having their licences formally reviewed. Should their licenses be revoked, those operators would not be able to operate within the UK.

The Commission has not named any of the companies involved.

Speaking about the issue, Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission, said:

It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously. The Gambling Commission’s new strategy sets out our vision for a fairer and safer gambling market. The action we are taking to examine online casino operators’ compliance with money laundering and customer interaction requirements is just one example of how we will be relentless in turning that vision into reality.Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission

Money laundering and social responsibility failures

Among the list of problems, was a failure from operators to intervene when signs of problem gambling were exhibited. The Commission said it had identified specific instances of problem gambling behaviour being exhibited by customers, which failed to elicit the necessary response from the operator. By failing to prevent problem gambling, firms are still not sufficiently meeting their social responsibility obligations.

Towards money laundering, the Commission had found operators had in some instances hired money laundering reporting officers who had no qualifications in the area and were unfit to identify incidents of money laundering and intervene appropriately. The Commission also stated that operators were failing to submit information about suspicious activity to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

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