UK remote gaming licensee Platinum Gaming, operator of the Unibet and Bingo.com brands, has agreed to pay a penalty package of £1.6m for anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.
The penalty follows an investigation by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) into the operator’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls, after a convicted fraudster spent £629,420 of stolen money with the company.
The UKGC said that the customer’s deposits were so high and losses so significant that Platinum Gaming should have considered refusing or barring service to the customer.
The investigation found that the customer opened an account with Platinum Gaming on 24 February 2017 and was registered as a VIP customer two days later. Over a period of 11 days, the customer lost significant amounts of money and gambled frequently during the day, evening and night.
The customer stopped gambling with the operator in March 2017 but resumed their activity in October 2017 when, in 21 days, they were allowed to gamble and lose 10 times the amount they had gambled previously.
The UKGC found that the operator failed to make use of all available information on the customer to ensure effective decision making. “This was particularly concerning given that the customer had been identified as high value or VIP,” the regulator noted.
It said that the operator identified and flagged the customer as a high-risk player who should be subject to a Source of Funds (SOF) investigation as they may not be playing within their means, but failed to make adequate enquiries about the SOF used to gamble, despite filing a Suspicious Activity Report.
The operator was also found to have failed in its duty to carry out enhanced due diligence and ongoing monitoring of the player, contrary to regulations.
When Platinum Gaming did ask the player for proof of Source of Funds on 30 October 2017, the player declined to cooperate and the account was closed on 7 November 2017.
Between 12 October and 2 November 2017, the customer deposited £651,370 and lost £619,420.
“There were weaknesses in Platinum Gaming’s systems and as a consequence, more than half a million pounds of stolen money flowed through the business. This is not acceptable and I would urge all operators to carefully read this case and learn lessons so they don’t make the same mistakes,” said UK Gambling Commission executive director Richard Watson.
“This is yet another example of us taking firm action against online operators who fail to protect consumers or implement effective safeguards against money laundering. We must see the industry stepping up and providing consumers in Great Britain with the safest and fairest gambling market in the world. Where we continue to see failings, we will continue to take action.”
The UKGC investigation did not extend to a licence review for Platinum Gaming as the regulator considered the issue to be an isolated incident. It also noted that the operator has “moved forward since the time of this incident, with clear improvements in areas where these failings were found to have occurred”.
It also noted that Platinum Gaming acknowledged its shortcomings at an early stage after initial engagement with the Commission and accepted that it failed to act in accordance with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017, and UKGC guidance on money laundering and terrorist financing.
The penalty package sees Platinum Gaming divest gross gambling yield of £629,420 to the victim it was stolen from and pay £990,200 in lieu of a financial penalty. The operator will also pay £9,800 towards the Commission’s investigative costs and agreed to the Commission’s publication of a statement of the facts in the case.
Shares in Kindred Group plc. (STO:KIND-SDB) were trading down 0.28 per cent at SEK78.48 per share in Stockholm early Thursday morning.