UKGC fines InTouch Games £3.4m for compliance failings

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 18 Mar 2021, 10:19 a.m.

It’s been a challenging period for the UKGC, both in terms of their external and internal operations. On the bright side, they’ve been closely following the market’s progress and how tightening online slots’ measures has impacted online gambling in the UK. The general conclusion is that the online market notes continuous month-to-month growth in the period of March to December 2020.

However, they’ve been pretty busy keeping gambling operators accountable for their operations and maintain the standards high.  Just recently, they’ve taken action against several Personal Management Licence holders at Caesars Entertainment. This time, the British regulator has fined InTouch, an online casino operator, £3.4m for money laundering, social responsibility and marketing breaches. The operator, which stands behind nine casino brands in the UK, including PocketWin and mFortune, has to undergo a detailed, in-depth audit to improve their compliance performance and procedures.

Failing to follow customers’ online behaviour 

The conclusion of the UKGC assessment regarding social responsibility failing was related to communication with seven customers, even though their activity indicated problem gambling behaviour. Also, the operator missed the opportunity to use relevant documents and good practices to ensure appropriate decision making with regards to the same customers. The regulator said that InTouch should’ve paid attention to limit customers’ deposits. The social responsibility code violation included a statement in its interaction guidance that allowed bonus offers for players that verify their identity.

In regards to anti-money laundering, the company failed to conduct and conduct and set up appropriate levels of due diligence and transparently evaluate information on the players’ fund sources. On top of it, they didn’t take into account a risk associated with a payment operator that acts as a cryptocurrency exchange. For their SMS marketing terms, they failed to communicate the minimum and maximum deposits for a specific offer or the time frame when the bonus offer could be claimed.

InTouch undergoes a detailed operations audit 

In response to the happenings, InTouch said they’re disappointed with the sanction related to matters that happened in 2019. Still, they recognise the case and add that significant improvements have been made in their operations and customer handlings since then. They’ll go further than just addressing Commission’s decision, and they’ve already undertaken a full review of their corporate structure. As a reminder, back in 2019, they’ve been fined £2.2m after failing to put in place adequate measures to prevent money laundering.

Richard Watson, the executive director of the UKGC, said that they’d continue to keep the bar high regarding standards and hold failing operators to account through detailed and challenging compliance activities. It’s been a challenging time for the UKGC after they announced the unexpected leave of CEO Neil McArthur earlier this week. He’s been temporarily replaced by deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and COO Sally Jones.

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