ukgc

Skill on Net to pay £305k in latest UKGC social responsibility ruling

Skill on Net has become the latest firm to face regulatory action from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), finding itself under the spotlight for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

The Commission has charged the company £305,150 as part of a regulatory settlement, having determined that the firm had ‘breached several terms’ of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) between January 2021 and December 2022.

An igaming operator, Skill on Net operates 50 websites, of which 15 are via white label arrangements. This includes gentingcasino.com, playtoro.com and slotstars.com.

Specifically, the company failed in three key areas – preventing gambling from being a source of or associated with crime and disorder, ensuring gambling is conducted fairly and openly and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm.

The Commission determined that the company had insufficient policies, procedures and controls to comply with AML and responsible gambling responsibilities, including ‘weaknesses in implementation’ in the case of the latter obligation.

Payment failures saw Skill on Net accused of failing to consider payments from unknown third parties of a customer, organised crime groups and mule accounts and information on money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

The salaries and risk profiles of customers were also not adequately considered, a requirement for a nominated officer to provide an annual report on AML was not followed and there was an overreliance on verbal comments and monetary thresholds.

Several Skill on Net customers were able to deposit and lose more than double the £2,000 limit the firm had set in place, driven by assumptions that some customers were ‘recycling’ or ‘restaking’ winnings.

Failure to identify these at-risk customers and associated markers of harm was further compounded by ineffective interactions. The UKGC argues that the interactions conducted by the firm were ‘not effective in capturing the necessary information’ to make a risk assessment.

As well as failing to identify money laundering risks and establish effective policies, the UKGC also found Skill on Net to have failed to adequately utilise account information the regulatory made available to the company.

Although the UKGC did find failings after two periods of special measures against Skill on Net, the regulator did count the steps taken by the firm to rectify breaches, its acceptance of the failings and action ‘in a timely manner’ as mitigating factors.

As a result, the Commission has settled on a £305,150 payment ‘in lieu of a financial penalty’, a payment of £9,079 to cover the costs of the investigation and agreement for a third-party audit. The £305,150 payment will go towards social responsibility causes.

The charge against Skill on Net shows that the UKGC is making good on its promise to ensure that non-compliant operators will face repercussions for licence breaches, having handed out £76m in regulatory enforcement actions from January 2022 to April 2023.

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