UK Gambling Commission Hits Two Online Casino Operators With Combined £1.3m in Fines

  • Rank Digital Gaming Ltd. received a £700,557 ($954,275) fine for social responsibility violations
  • Annexio Ltd. got a £612,000 ($833,645) fine for social responsibility and money laundering failings
  • Public statements from the UKGC provided specific details of the failings of both operators
  • Most UKGC fines relate to social responsibility and money laundering violations
Man holding a moneybag on a table and issuing a "stop" signal with his other hand
The UKGC has fined two online casino operators a total of £1.3m ($1.77m) for regulatory violations. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Numerous failings

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued £1.3m ($1.77m) in total fines to two online casino operators. The UKGC announced these fines on Thursday, which come after the regulator’s investigations found social responsibility failings at both companies.

Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited has to pay a regulatory settlement of £700,557 ($954,275) for its social responsibility failings. The operator trades as meccagames.com, meccabingo.com, grosvenorcasino.com, and bellacasino.com. 

both companies cooperated with the UKGC’s investigations

Annexio (Jersey) Limited, which trades as lottogo.com, has to pay a fine of £612,000 ($833,645) for both money laundering and social responsibility failings. The resulting money from these fines will go toward the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. The UKGC noted that both companies cooperated with the UKGC’s investigations and have taken the necessary steps to resolve the issues.

Regulatory reviews of both operators

The UKGC released public statements to provide specific details concerning the failures of both operators. Rank Digital Gaming’s violations occurred between October 2019 and February 2021. Failings were identified by the UKGC following a compliance assessment, leading to the beginning of a regulatory review on May 27, 2021.

Some of the issues included customer interaction failures, not having proper measures to identify duplicate accounts, and failing to stop Rank self-excluders from creating an account on one of Rank’s sites.

identified failings taking place between October 2019 and November 2021

The regulatory review into Annexio began on April 14, 2021 and it identified failings taking place between October 2019 and November 2021. Some of its violations included improper implementation of anti-money laundering procedures, controls, and policies. There were also deficiencies in its responsible gambling procedures, policies, and implementation. Finally, the UKGC noted that there were weaknesses in Annexio’s reporting arrangements.

Setting high standards

Speaking about the two fines was UKGC executive director Helen Venn. She said: “We expect high standards from operators to ensure gambling in Britain is safe and crime free. Those businesses that fail to meet these standards will find themselves facing costly regulatory action.”

The UKGC takes matters relating to social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures very seriously. The bulk of fines that it hands out relate to one or both of these problems. Awareness of the risks associated with gambling has never been greater, with operators having a responsibility to protect at-risk users. There is also the threat of criminals using online gambling sites to launder money.

The UK government is putting together a white paper containing proposals to gambling legislation that come off the back of a lengthy review of the Gambling Act 2005. Publication of this white paper is set for the spring.

As the government review of gambling legislation in the UK draws to a close, numerous changes are said to be on the way for operators. This likely includes new measures to further protect people when they are gambling online, including more stringent affordability checks.