UKGC cracks AML whip issuing £4.5m penalty packages for ‘weak controls’

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has imposed £4.5 million in penalty packages on four online casino operators in relation to failed AML procedures and maintaining inadequate consumer safeguards.

The penalty packages form part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into the UK online casino sector.

In its update, the UKGC confirms that InTouch Games will pay £2.2 million in lieu of financial penalties for failing to meet proper AML customer risk assessments and failure to comply with UK gambling’s ‘Social Responsibility Code’ in relation to customer interactions.

In its executive summary of InTouch Games, the UKGC detailed it had ‘identified weaknesses in the operator’s (ITG) anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls’.

Further action sees the UKGC announce payments in lieu of financial penalties for Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) subsidiaries Betit Operations of £1.4 million and MT Secure Trade of £700,000 for a failure to maintain AML controls and undertake customer due diligence procedures.

In its assessment of Betit, the operating company of Kaboo.com and Highroller.com brands, the UKGC stated that it had numerous failures with ‘requirements around personal management and key event notifications’.

In its assessment of Betit and MT Secure Trade, the UKGC informs that both companies must maintain the appointment of a qualified ‘Money Laundering Reporting  Officer (MLRO)‘.

Completing its round of penalty charges, the UKGC has fined BestBet Limited £230,000, having identified ‘multiple weaknesses’ attached to the operator’s AML controls.

Over the past 18 months, the UKGC has conducted assessments of 123 online operators – and of the 45 told to submit an action plan to raise standards 38 have already shown signs of improvement.

In addition, a further 34 were compliant with standards expected by the Commission or had minor issues which have been remedied.

Richard Watson – UKGC

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive Director, said: “We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online every month can do so safely.

“But our work will not stop here. As a regulator, we will continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers.

“We expect operators to know their customers and to ask the right questions to make sure they meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”

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