Regulatory action

UKGC fines Rank and Annexio's online casinos $1.7M for social responsibility failures

2022-01-20
United Kingdom
Reading time 2:06 min

The UK Gambling Commission announced on Thursday two online casinos will pay a total of £1.3 million ($1.7 million) after investigations carried out by the regulator revealed social responsibility failures at the businesses.

Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited -trading as bellacasino.com, grosvenorcasino.com, meccabingo.com and meccagames.com- will pay a £700,557 ($955,810) regulatory settlement for social responsibility failures, a press statement announces.

Meanwhile, Annexio (Jersey) Limited -trading as lottogo.com- is set to pay a £612,000 ($834,990) regulatory settlement for both social responsibility and money laundering failures, the UKGC said. Settlement money paid by both businesses will go to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

“We expect high standards from operators to ensure gambling in Britain is safe and crime-free,” said Helen Venn, Gambling Commission Executive Director. “Those businesses that fail to meet these standards will find themselves facing costly regulatory action.”

The UKGC found failings in Rank’s measures to interact with customers in a way that minimizes the risk of customers experiencing harms associated with gambling, between October 2019 and February 2021.

Between June 2020 and February 2021, the company also failed in regards to a code provision that requires licensees who allow customers to hold more than one account to ensure that all accounts are monitored, and that decisions that trigger customer interaction are based on behavior and transactions across all accounts.

And, between November 2020 and February 2021, a failure to comply with a Social Responsibility Code Provision “stating licensees must ensure that any individual who has self-excluded cannot gain access to gambling” was found.

The UKGC lists as mitigating factors the extent of steps taken to remedy the breaches and early recognition of the failings, along with timely disclosure of all relevant facts, including a wider customer review into the extent of the failings. “Rank has been cooperative throughout its dealings with the commission,” the regulator said.

Meanwhile, Annexio was found as failing to properly assess the risks of its business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing between October 2019 and November 2021. Annexio accepted its risk assessment had not addressed certain risks in sufficient detail.

Between October 2019 and December 2020, and following completion of and having regard to the risk assessment, the licensee failed to ensure it had appropriate policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing in place.

The UKGC found failings in Annexio’s measures to interact with customers in a way that minimizes the risk of customers experiencing harms associated with gambling between October 2019 and December 2020. It also failed to report a key event -a bug that allowed customers to override and circumvent deposit limits- in August 2020.

Annexio has also co-operated throughout its dealings with the UKGC, and an ongoing program of remedial action was commenced following identification of and notification of the breaches to the company.

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