UKGC imposes new licence conditions on three operators

Simona Boshkova | Published 29 Oct 2020, 10:29 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission has conducted a couple of licence reviews and investigations into the activities of gambling operators. One of the biggest suspensions was back in July when the popular operator Genesis Global Limited lost UK gaming activities on 12 sites due to compliance issues. However, about two weeks ago, UKGC lifted Genesis Global licence suspension and the operator continued with its work within the UK.

The UKGC carried on with its investigation on gambling operators and found social responsibility and money laundering failures in three major operators - BGO Entertainment Limited, GAN PLC and NetBet Enterprises Limited. As a result, the regulator imposed tougher licence conditions on these operators.

All three operators failed to keep customers safe

Yesterday, the UK Gambling Commission announced that it has concluded an investigation into three UK online operators regarding social responsibility and anti-money laundering. The investigation is part of the Commission’s ongoing plan to raise standards through its enforcement action. The three operators, BGO Entertainment Limited, GAN PLC and NetBet Enterprises Limited, were subject to licence reviews for the period between September 2018 and March 2020. The investigation found that all three operators failed to keep customers safe, as well as to prevent money laundering and criminal spend in that period.

As a result of those reviews, the operators will have to improve their policies and procedures to meet with the UKGC’s expectations. In addition, the Commission will review the actions of the individual Personal Management Licence holders in all three cases. Commenting on the investigation, Richard Watson, executive director of the UKGC, said that operators must protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly.

BGO, GAN, and NetBet cases

In BGO’s case, the UKGC found failings in having effective policies and procedures in place for customers who may be displaying signs of problem gambling between 25 September 2018 and 23 March 2020. In addition, BGO was found to be lacking effective and resourced anti-money laundering controls in place. As a consequence, BGO will have additional conditions imposed on its licence which include extra social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks on its top customers. It will also pay £2m to support the implementation of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

GAN was found to have failed to comply with four licence conditions focused on social responsibility and anti-money laundering. This includes poor customer interaction guidance, having ineffective anti-money laundering policies, and not displaying warnings that underage gambling is an offence on its website. As a result, GAN will have new conditions added to its licence including continued review of its policies, procedures and controls, and extra training for personal management licence holders and senior staff. It will also pay £146,000 to progress the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. 

When it comes to NetBet, the operator failed to carefully check the source of funds documentation provided by customers and not implementing its responsible gambling policy effectively. For that reason, NetBet will have to make a couple of changes to its processes such as giving greater regard to the log-in time of its customers during responsible gambling customer assessments, automatic limits placed on customers demonstrating early signs of problem gambling and providing consumers with access to an affordability calculator.

Details of the licence conditions and public statements by the three operators can be found on the UKGC website.

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