UKGC and bet365 settle £582,120 over AML and social responsibility shortcomings

UKGC and bet365 settle £582,120 over AML and social responsibility shortcomings

UKGC and bet365 settle £582,120 over AML and social responsibility shortcomings
The UK Gambling Commission has issued a new penalty against a prominent local operator, with the regulator going after bet365 for allegedly breaching social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules, the watchdog said in a statement on its website. The settlement of £582,120 will be paid by two of the entities operating under the bet365 banner, and namely Hillside (UK Gaming) ENC and Hillside (UK Sports) ENC. Hillside (UK Gaming) ENC will pay £343,035 and it is responsible for the brand’s casino and bingo products whereas Hillside (UK Sports) ENC, which operates sports betting products, will have to pay another £239,085. UKGC Executive Director of Operations Kay Roberts has said that this penalty should serve as another warning to gambling businesses that have been failing to meet certain regulatory standards. “We expect high standards from operators in terms of keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free, and will always take action to correct any failings. This operator is very aware that a repeat of these failings will result is escalating regulatory action,” Roberts added, cautioning businesses that the UKGC will act uncompromisingly in those cases that necessitate it. The UKGC has said that the proceeds from the settlement will be allocated to various socially responsible causes, as the regulator seeks to ensure that proceeds from such regulatory actions are immediately used to strengthen the overall environment for safe and responsible gambling in the country. In the meantime, there were several counts detected during a compliance assessment review in March 2022, that found the two entities to be in breach of certain regulatory standards. As to the specific nature of the issues, the UKGC outlined the social responsibility failures, arguing that the regulator did not do enough to interact with customers in a meaningful way on certain occasions. Another issue the regulator found was with the companies’ Early Risk Detection System which, according to the watchdog, failed to prove its efficacy. The regulator similarly noted that it was not immediately clear whether players who engaged with the companies actually “understood the information or advice provided within its interactions” As to the listed anti-money laundering failures, the UKGC explained that the enhanced customer due diligence and KYC triggers were not effective in terms of determining money laundering risk. There were instances where the UKGC took issue with what it claims is a lack of financial sanctions checks prior to a player’s first deposit. Independent verification checks were also missing, the watchdog added. Not least, the regulator went after what it considered to be a failure in internal documentation in delineating between “risk” and “at-risk” players, all of which has led to the sum total of the penalty. Earlier this year, the UGKC went after Gamesys, issuing a £6m penalty in a similar case. Image credit: Unsplash.com

05 APR 2024

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