hree online casino firms have been fined USD18m after the largest enforcement action by the UK Gambling Commission uncovered failings in systems designed to prevent money-laundering and protect problem gamblers.
The industry regulator ordered Casumo to pay a penalty package of USD7.47m, while Videoslots will pay USD1,2m in lieu of a financial penalty. Daub Alderney was hit with a fine of USD9m, previously announced.
A fourth company, CZ Holdings, surrendered its right to provide gambling services in the UK after the regulator opened a review of its licence. A further six firms remain under investigation.
Three individuals have also been stripped of their licence to serve as directors of gambling companies, four were issued with warnings and three are under investigation.
Collectively, the fines far outstrip the largest penalty handed out by the industry regulator, a USD10m fine paid by online casino firm 888 after more than 7,000 people who had voluntarily banned themselves from the site were allowed to continue betting.
Jeremy Wright, the secretary of state for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Any online operator that thinks it can ignore its duty to protect players should take note today – there will be consequences. Protecting vulnerable consumers is our prime concern, and it must be the priority for gambling operators too.
“There are robust requirements to safeguard players and prevent money-laundering which all businesses must adhere to if they wish to operate in the British market. I am pleased to see the Gambling Commission taking the strongest possible action when companies fail to meet their obligations.”
The commission has hardened its stance against gambling companies in the past couple of years, issuing millions of pounds worth of fines to firms including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and SkyBet for failures relating to money-laundering and problem gambling.
The commission’s chief executive, Neil McArthur, said online casino operators should “sit up and pay attention”. “It is not enough to have policies and procedures in place. Everyone in a gambling business must understand its policies and procedures and take responsibility for properly applying them,” he said.
“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.. Anyone in a position of authority needs to be aware that we will not only act against businesses when we take regulatory action – we will also hold individuals to account where they are responsible for an operator’s failings.”