Legal & Regulatory News

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has concluded regulatory settlements with four online casino operators who will pay a total of £4.5m in penalty packages.

As part of the Gambling Commission’s ongoing investigation into the UK online casino sector, InTouch Games will pay £2.2m, Betit Operations £1.4m, MT Secure Trade £700,000, and BestBet £230,972.

The penalty packages relate to failings in putting in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and keep consumers safe from gambling harm.

Betit Operations and SecureTrade are both subsidiaries of Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), with a total of £2.1m to be paid to responsible gambling charities pursuant to negotiated regulatory settlements.

“Each company acknowledged previous weaknesses in its controls to meet social responsibility requirements early in the Gambling Commission process and immediately took steps to address the gaps in its procedures,” said GiG chief executive Robin Reed. “It has been such transparency and cooperation, which we are pleased that the Gambling Commission has publicly acknowledged, and agility to implement improvements that allowed us to avert a sanction.

“Commencing from the end of 2017, GiG has embarked on an ambitious journey to place player well-being, prevention of money laundering and sustainable business practices at the core of its operators.”

Over the last 18 months the UKGC has conducted assessments or engaged with 123 online operators. Of these, 45 were told to submit an action plan to raise standards, with 38 already showing signs of improvement. A further 34 were compliant with standards expected by the regulator, or had minor issues which have been, or are in the process of being, remedied.

Since the investigation began, five operators have surrendered their licence and can no longer transact with consumers in the UK.

“We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online every month can do so safely,” said UKGC executive director Richard Watson. “But our work will not stop here. As a regulator, we will continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers.

“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.”

Shares in Gaming Innovation Group Inc (STO:GIGSEK) were trading down 4.73 per cent at SEK12.48 per share in Stockholm Wednesday morning.