New UKGC Probe Proactively Enforces Accountability for NegligencePublished January 10, 2018 by Lee R
The regulator of the most sought after licences begins enforcing proactive prevention and protection.
Out of fear of some iGaming companies not doing enough to curb money-laundering through their sites, the UK Gaming Commission has launched a new probe targeting anywhere from 5-17 licenced organisations.
At this juncture, a total of 17 licenced online casinos have been contacted and flagged for the “serious nature” of UKGC findings regarding organisational failure to control against money laundering, terrorist financing and problem gambling.
The Identified Breakdowns
The commission’s letters identify individual organisational breakdowns in both money-laundering controls as well as social responsibility provisions in the online space bearing its own inherent monitoring and regulation challenges.
Lack of Qualification
One violation identified by the UKGC was the organisational practice of hiring unqualified money laundering reporting officers who were “unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering,” resulting in “a general lack of understanding of how criminal spend could affect the business” across the organisation.
Another violation identified by the UKGC was insufficient reporting levels of suspicious activity to local designated law enforcement agencies including the National Crime Agency.
Lack of Intervention
Further failures to intervene were cited by the UKGC in examples where the UKGC itself could identify individual signs of problem gambling among players patronising specific licenced websites that went on unabated without triggering mandated “customer interactions.”
Watchdog Party Supports
Labour party gambling review watchdog and deputy leader Tom Watson supported the new probe:
“This serious warning shows many online gambling companies acting as if money laundering and gambling addiction being facilitated on their platforms aren’t their problem...No firm that fails to take its responsibilities seriously should be allowed to hold a licence.”
Some question arises to undue pressure that operators might come under to identify and report illicit looking activity just to meet quotas, but considering that all operators are private organisations operating by privilege of licence, that concern might be designated a cost of doing business at this point.
By the same token, an honest player would have nothing to hide anyway, not have any problem with receiving forthright protective communications warning them that they are exhibiting signs of problem gambling.
The best case outcome here appears to be all warned organisations taking heed by immediately meeting the cited standards. The hope is that a positive model for adaptation can emerge to smooth the regulation bumps of other jurisdictions as they roll out new online gambling regimes designed to provide social benefits while eliminating all forms of exploitation in the online environment.