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Bet365 Ordered To Pay £582,120 To UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) continues to be strict towards those companies they have granted licences to. Bet365 have been ordered to pay £582,120 after shortcomings were found in their social responsibility and anti-money laundering actions by their online gambling sites.

£343,035 will be paid by Hillside (UK Gaming) ENC, who are the licence holders for Bet365’s bingo and casino products. The remaining £239,085 refer to their online sports betting site whose licence is held by Hillside (UK Sports) ENC. The money received from this regulatory settlement will be donated to socially responsible causes.

The UKGC held a compliance assessment of the services offered by bet365 in March 2022. The findings led to them deciding that a regulatory settlement was required to be made.

The compliance assessment found that bet365 had made three social responsibility failings. They found that there were customer interactions taking place that were “not meaningful.” Why was this the case? It was felt that the interactions were often not being tailored to the spectrum of harm or the customer’s journey.

It was also found that the Early Risk Detection System that was being employed was “not demonstrably effective” when it came to understanding the impact of “individual interactions” on a customer. With this being so, the system was unable to understand whether there needed to be further action taken.

Finally, it was felt that bet365 did not do enough to find out if a customer had read and understood information/advice that had been given to them.

Regarding anti-money laundering, there were four failings discovered. It was found that be365’s Know Your Customer (KYC) and enhanced due diligence were unfortunately “ineffective at managing money laundering risk.”

Also, when new customers made their first deposits, bet365 failed to undertake financial sanction checks. There were also shortcomings when it came to independent verification checks, reports whatbonuscode.co.uk, the website about new casino player offers. It was found that too high a reliance on customers’ annual self-verification of KYC information was taking place.

The final finding was that their procedure document had detail that was inadequate about which customers were to be considered “at risk.”

Kay Roberts is the UKGC’s executive director of operations. Speaking about the regulatory settlement, she said that the failings that had been found weren’t “as severe” as seen at other gambling companies in recent times. However, “they were failings nonetheless” so action had to be taken.

In addition, the executive director of operations said that bet365 were below the high standards they expect from licence holders regarding keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free. “We will always take action to correct any failings. This operator is very aware that a repeat of these failings will result in escalating regulatory action.”

In January of this year, Gamesys were ordered to make a payment of £6 Million. They too had social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings. This is related to activity between November 2021 and July 2022.

Gamesys is owned by the Ballys Corporation and operates 16 online gambling sites in the UK, including Megawayscasino.com and Doublebubblebingo.com. A third-party audit is also to be carried out to ensure they are effectively implementing both safer gambling and anti-money laundering procedures.

The failings included not checking whether a customer had ever been bankrupt or insolvent. There was one occasion when a customer made a deposit of £8,255 just three days after they opened an account. Another player opened a new account and in the space of 34 days lost a total of £17,482.

The UKGC found that a player who was having a poor run of luck was only contacted after they had lost nearly £10,000. There was also a case of “responsible gambling interaction” with a customer seeing them being told of new games and promotions they could receive.

As the UK economy shows signs of improving, the gambling industry is facing stricter regulation in the future. While the wait continues for that, the UKGC have become increasingly stricter. One of the key changes that are likely in the future is stricter affordability checks on customers.

Those have been at the centre of the regulatory settlements that have had to be paid to the UKGC. It is a controversial area though with many gamblers who feel they don’t have a problem likely to face affordability checks in the future.

It’s feared that if this was to be the case, many gamblers would head to the unlicensed black market. That’s not a great idea as the levels of customer protection there are nowhere near as strong as in the licensed market.

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