UKGC Fines Genesis Global £3.8m for Failures, Including Allowing NHS Nurse to Gamble Beyond Means

  • The UKGC issued a £3.8m ($5.1m) penalty and warning regarding the operator’s UK license
  • It warned “all gambling businesses [to] pay very close attention” to how it dealt with Genesis
  • An AML failure saw Genesis fail to complete checks until a customer lost £209,000 ($280,122)
  • An NHS nurse on £30,000 ($40,296) per year bet £245,000 ($328,357) in three months
Statue of Lady Justice with UK flag background
After wrapping up a near two-year investigation into Genesis Global for money laundering and other failures, the UKGC hit the online casino firm with a $5.1m fine. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Conclusion of two-year investigation

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined Genesis Global Limited £3.8m ($5.1m) after it concluded a two-year investigation into the European online casino giant, finding multiple money laundering and social responsibility failures.

Genesis allowed an NHS nurse to gamble more than £200,000 ($267,769) in three months

In a news release Thursday, the UKGC stated it had also issued Genesis with a warning and instructed it to undergo further auditing as a condition to its operating license. In one of the eye-catching social responsibility failures to emerge from the investigation, Genesis allowed an NHS nurse to gamble more than £200,000 ($267,769) in three months.

UKGC’s executive director Helen Venn warned “all gambling businesses [to] pay very close attention” to how the regulator has dealt with Genesis. “The Commission will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety and that extends to stopping a business from actually operating,” she added.

Money laundering failures

The UKGC suspended Genesis’ UK operating license in July 2020 for money laundering and social responsibility failures. However, the regulator lifted this measure three months later, citing significant improvements in the firm’s compliance. According to Thursday’s report, the operator is up to its old tricks.

The UKGC has cited three examples of money laundering failures. One such case saw Genesis estimate a customer made £111,000 ($148,772) a year as director of a London firm, despite a wide range of variability within the directorship salary bracket. Then, only after the customer lost £209,000 ($280,122) did Genesis ask for the source of the funds.

In another case, before checking the source of funds, Genesis permitted another customer to deposit more than £1.3m ($1.7m) and lose £600,000 ($804,180). The documentation the customer gave to Genesis showed bank deposits valued at £23,000 ($30,825) and cash withdrawals to the value of £27,000 ($36,186). The UKGC noted this was “clearly not enough to support the level of gambling.”

The 14 active websites Genesis Global operates include casinocruise.com, casinogods.com, casinojoy.com, casinolab.com, casinoplanet.com, casoola.com, funbet.com, genesiscasino.com, kassu.com, pelaa.com, sloty.com, spela.com, spinit.com, and vegashero.com.

Social responsibilty failures

As noted by the UKGC, the aforementioned NHS nurse was earning an annual salary of £30,000 ($40,296) while using Genesis’ services. She gambled away £245,000 ($328,357) in just three months, and the UKGC has concluded that Genesis knew of the individual’s occupation and earnings while she did so.

a woman lost £197,000 ($263,967) over six months

Adding to Genesis’ social responsibility failures, a woman lost £197,000 ($263,967) over six months. What’s striking here, is that on the same day the woman closed her Genesis account, on the grounds she wanted to devote more time to her family, the company permitted her to open a new account and deposit £200 ($267). Unsurprisingly, the UKGC takes the Malta-based firm to task for not undertaking “any meaningful responsible gambling interactions or establishing affordability.”

In June 2020, House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier branded the UKGC “a torpid, toothless regulator that doesn’t seem terribly interested in either the harms it exists to reduce or the means it might use to achieve that.” Genesis, for one, might not agree.