United Kingdom Gambling Commission Issues Warning to Licensed Operators

Dec 27

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released a stern warning to licensed operators, reminding them to strictly adhere to anti-money laundering regulations.

The UKGC has expressed that major consequences are in store for those that would violate the new anti-money laundering compliance standards. On January 10, 2020, the updated iteration of the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive would be enforced.

On that very same day, the UKGC would release the latest edition of its guide for casino operators, dubbed “Prevention of Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism.” This covers both retail and online casinos. As soon as this guide would be published, the new rules would also come into effect. Therefore, operators must be fully aware of the updates and be prepared to implement them right away.

Some of the new changes would include reducing anti-money laundering risks when new products, technology, or business practices are introduced. There will also need to be particular controls and policies in place for guaranteeing the implementation of these rules, as well as making sure that staff would get enough training.

There would also be a renewed focus on ensuring that customer identity verification is processed by an independent and reliable source. The UKGC would also have more of a focus on transactions that are extraordinarily large or complex, especially if it is coming from a high-risk nation, or if there is no clear legal or economic purpose.

The UKGC did admit that implementing policy changes could often take some time. However, it still wants all operators to act swiftly and introduce new changes with a sense of urgency.

Throughout 2019, the UKGC has already clamped down on operators that were not up to speed when it came to fulfilling anti-money laundering policies. This includes reputable operators such as Gamesys, the Kindred Group, and Betfred.

It was on October 10 that Betfred was slapped with a massive fine of £322,000 (or $417,000) from the UKGC over its failings with the anti-money laundering compliance regulations. Betfred admitted that it had its fair share of shortcomings and that it would be working with the UKGC on resolving the issue.

The key flashpoint in the Betfred case related to an incident that happened in 2017. This saw a customer deposit £210,000 (or $272,000), losing £140,000 (or $181,000). It turned out that this money had been stolen by the customer and that Betfred did not comply with the right anti-money laundering measures within 12 days of this transaction.