888

Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner stands by 888 licence

The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC) has taken regulatory lead on the compliance failures disclosed yesterday by the board of 888 Holdings Plc.

AML and KYC failings were notified to the GGC, the regulator in which 888 holds its operating licence and resides its headquarters.   

Issuing a statement, the Gibraltar Commissioner said it would be “reviewing and discussing the outcome of the internal investigation in due course”.

888 guarantees that “all relevant customer accounts have been suspended whilst the internal investigation is carried out”, in which the company has “given a full commitment to regulatory transparency in respect of this matter”.

The GGC concluded: “It is too early to say what the regulatory outcome will be, but on the known facts, and because of the level of commitment to resolution, licence suspension or revocation is highly unlikely.”

Scrutiny mounts on 888, as yesterday Chairman Lord Mendelsohn admitted the FTSE firm’s exposure to compliance failures related to VIP accounts in the Middle East.

Negative news headlines further intensified as 888’s board announced the departure of CEO Itai Pazner with immediate effect.

Investors were reassured that 888’s compliance woes were ‘isolated to one region’, in which no information was provided on specific countries involved in the discrepancies.

The GGC will proceed with a review of 888’s compliance capabilities as Gibraltar’s government faces scrutiny related to AML and CTF failings uncovered by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Last summer, the FATF placed the British Overseas territory on its ‘greylist’, in which the government was ordered to correct 78 AML and CTR discrepancies (currently reduced to 2).

Attention looms on whether the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will interfere in 888’s internal investigation, in which it stated that it could “neither confirm nor deny” whether it had launched regulatory action.

Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes has previously asserted that the regulator will no longer tolerate ‘failures by repeat offenders’ in which 888 was fined £9.4m for AML failings in March last year.

The firm’s regulatory woes are further compounded as William Hill remains under licensing review awaiting the Commission’s judgement on a quantum of regulatory sanctions related to ‘historic failings’ of its retail unit.

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