Online casino companies and their senior management have faced widespread action from the gambling regulator, as part of an ongoing investigation into the way the industry combats problem gambling and money laundering.
The Commission has imposed nearly £14m in penalties on three companies as result of their failings to put in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and keep consumers safe from gambling-related harm. Following licence reviews, the Commission has ordered Daub Alderney to pay a financial penalty of £7.1m (as previously announced), Casumo has been ordered to pay a financial penalty of £5.85m and Videoslots will pay £1m in lieu of a financial penalty.
Another company – CZ Holdings – will no longer be able to provide gambling services to consumers in Britain as it surrendered its licence after a licence review had been commenced. Nine other operators have been issued with Advice as to Conduct letters and a further six are still under investigation.
The Commission has also taken regulatory action against the individuals responsible for the failings. Three Personal Licence Holders (PML) have now surrendered their licenses, four have been issued with a warning and two have been issued with Advice as to Conduct notices. A further three individuals who hold PMLs are still under investigation.
Neil McArthur, Commission CEO, said: “I hope today’s announcement will make all online casino operators sit up and pay attention, as our investigations found that a large number of operators and their senior management were not meeting their obligations.
“It is not enough to have policies and procedures in place. Everyone in a gambling business must understand its policies and procedures and take responsibility for properly applying them.
“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.”
Mr McArthur added: “Anyone in a position of authority needs to be aware that we will not only act against businesses when we take regulatory action – we will also hold individuals to account where they are responsible for an operator’s failings.”
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Any online operator that thinks it can ignore its duty to protect players should take note today – there will be consequences. Protecting vulnerable consumers is our prime concern, and it must be the priority for gambling operators too.
“There are robust requirements to safeguard players and prevent money-laundering which all businesses must adhere to if they wish to operate in the British market. I am pleased to see the Gambling Commission taking the strongest possible action when companies fail to meet their obligations.”