The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has confirmed that it is investigating seventeen remote gambling operators following the conclusion of its latest anti-money laundering and customer interaction compliance assessment.
Issuing a letter to all online casino operators, the UKGC has outlined how it expects operators to conduct themselves in terms of their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.
It confirms that of the seventeen operators under investigation, five are currently being reviewed under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 with a view to potentially rescinding their licences under section 117 of the Act.
In its assessment, the UKGC found that “It was of concern that some Money Laundering Reporting Officers were unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering and had no understanding of the main principles under POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act 2002). There was a general lack of understanding of how criminal spend could affect the business.”
The letter later goes on to state that “We found little evidence of effective considerations given to Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) submissions to the National Crime Agency (NCA) or equivalent Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The Commission receives reports from the UK FIU and notes that in feedback to operators they often conclude that there was insufficient information provided within the SAR to conduct an in-depth analysis of the money laundering risk.”
None of the seventeen remote operators under investigation have been named.
In a statement issued on the UK Gambling Commission website, Chief Executive Sarah Harrison said: It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously. The action we are taking to examine online casino operators’ compliance with money laundering and customer interaction requirements is just one example of how we will be relentless in turning that vision into reality.
“As the online sector continues to grow, and now accounts for a third of the British gambling market, it is right that we maintain a sharp focus on online gambling. That is why in addition to our work on compliance among online casino operators, we have also been conducting a wider ranging review of online gambling looking at how the market has evolved and to identify where further action can be taken to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers.”