UKGC fines VGC Leeds £450,000 for customer care and AML failures

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed a £450,000 penalty package to Leeds’s Victoria Gate Casino (VGC Leeds), trading as Global Gaming Ventures, having confirmed extensive duty of customer care failures.

An investigation undertaken by the regulator, concerning the casino venue, identified failings in the way it identified and managed customers who were at higher risk of money laundering and gambling-related harm.

These failings, it was said by the UKGC, stemmed from VGC failing to effectively implement its anti-money laundering and safer gambling policies and procedures.

The Commission investigated the handling of 10 customers following concerns identified at a compliance assessment in July 2019.

Helen Venn, Commission executive director, explained: “These failings were identified as part of our ongoing drive to raise standards across the whole gambling industry.

“All operators should be very aware that we will not hesitate to take action against those who fail to follow rules that are in place to make gambling safer and prevent it being a source of crime.

‘Consumer protection should be an operator’s main priority and we would advise every gambling business to read today’s public statement so they do not make the same mistakes as VGC.”

The company is said to be acknowledged that it failed to act in accordance with conditions of its operating licence between January 2017 and July 2019, in addition to accepting that the implementation of its policies and procedures in respect of AML and safer gambling were not effective.

Examples of the failings issued by the regulator include one customer incurring losses of £275,000 over 22 months before source of funds evidence was requested.

Furthermore, it’s added that another individual, who accrued losses of £93,294 over 16 months on their account since registering in February 2017, had numerous ‘no concern’ interactions.

It is further reported that the customer did not provide source of funds evidence until seven weeks after being requested to do so, but was permitted to continue gambling at the facility during that period.

In addition to accepting these failings, VGC has committed to an ongoing programme of improvements to ensure the implementation of its policies, procedures and controls are effective.

The regulatory settlement consists of £241,000 to represent divestment of the amount of financial gain accrued as a result of the accepted failings, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

A £209,000 payment has been made in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be utilised in a similar way to above, with £21,578.17 paid towards the Commission’s investigating costs.

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