UK Gambling Commission Investigating Seventeen Online Operators

Seventeen remote gambling operators in the UK are under investigation by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) following an assessment of the industry’s approach to social responsibility and money laundering.

The UKGC is considering a full license review for five of the operators under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 with a view to potentially revoking the licenses under section 117 of the Act.

Those operators under investigation have not been named.

The UKGC has sent a letter to all remote gambling license holders to summarize the findings of their recent compliance assessment activity and outline actions that licensees are expected to take.

On social responsibility the letter expresses concern that some operators were found to be failing in their obligations to protect vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

It says, “We reviewed a large number of customer accounts during the assessments and identified potential signs of problem gambling based on consumers’ gambling pattern and spend. In many cases, however, this behaviour did not trigger a customer interaction.”

With regards to anti-money laundering the letter refers to license conditions that require operators to conduct assessments of their business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing and to implement policy and procedure to mitigate against this risk.

They say, “We are concerned that where ongoing monitoring of customer accounts is not proactively undertaken both money laundering and/or SR issues go unreported.”

The UKGC assessment also found that Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLROs) appointed by operators lacked the knowledge or understanding to carry out their duties.

You can read the full transcript of the letter on the UK Gambling Commission website.

On the UKGC website, in a statement, Chief Executive Sarah Harrison said: “It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously. 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.

“As the online sector continues to grow, and now accounts for a third of the British gambling market, it is right that we maintain a sharp focus on online gambling. That is why in addition to our work on compliance among online casino operators, we have also been conducting a wider ranging review of online gambling looking at how the market has evolved and to identify where further action can be taken to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers.”

You can read more about Responsible Gaming and the role of the UK Gambling Commission on our Fair Play pages.

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