The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is continuing its investigation into UK online casino companies and the sector as a whole. As part of this process, it has been announced that four of these online casino operators will pay a total of £4.5m in penalties. These penalties are of varying sizes and break down as follows: InTouch Games the company behind mFortune casino will pay £2.2m, BestBet will pay £230.972, MT Secure Trade will pay £700,000 and Betit Operations will pay £1.4m.
The penalty packages were put in place as a result of these businesses failing to safeguard customers who might have gambling problems and also failing to prevent their platforms being used for money laundering. 123 online gambling companies have been looked into by the UKGC over the last 18 months as the regulator takes steps to improve standards and ethics in the sector.
45 Online Casinos Warned About Conduct
45 operators were identified as having problems and they were asked to submit a plan of action regarding how they intend to raise standards. Of those 45, 38 of them have already shown signs of improving, and another 34 had minor issues as identified by UKGC that have been or are currently being remedied.
During the investigation so far, five online casino operators have surrendered their gambling licence, meaning they’re no longer able to offer their gambling services to customers in the UK. These new penalties form part of around £14m worth of penalties that have been handed out to online gambling companies since November 2018.
Raising Standards in the Casino Industry
The executive director of UKGC, Richard Watson, has made it clear that the UKGC is working hard to raise standards in the gambling industry. With a focus on making sure that the industry is not used by criminals who are interested in using it for money laundering purposes, as well as aiming to improve safety standards for people who partake in gambling online.
The editor of the no deposit casino site, Spinbonus.com says, It’s now considered necessary for online gambling companies to ask the right questions of customers when they sign up and use their services. Part of this is to ensure that money laundering criminals are not able to slip through the net and exploit the online gambling sector. At the same time, it’s important that they ask questions that help them understand their customers so they can be protected and safeguarded better.
Social Responsibility & Gambling
The Social Responsibility code put in place by the UKGC is there to ensure that customers with gambling problems can be spotted and helped. A lot of the problems that were found in these investigations relate to online gambling companies failing to comply with that code, and provision 3.4.1, in particular.
The UKGC has outlined some good practices that will help online gambling companies to comply with the rules and protect customers better, while also not allowing money laundering to take place on their platform. They highlight things like carrying out risk assessments, monitoring customers, training staff to deal with issues relating to money laundering and other financial irregularities and implementing effective customer interaction strategies.