A hefty price to pay
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has already had a busy start to 2022, fining Genesis Global £3.8m ($5.1m) only last month. Now, it has added sportsbook operator BetVictor to its naughty list, hitting the company with a £2m ($2.7m) financial penalty.
fairness, social responsibility, and anti-money laundering (AML) failures
The UKGC confirmed the regulatory action on its official website this Thursday. An investigation into the online betting company found fairness, social responsibility, and anti-money laundering (AML) failures. BetVictor has agreed to pay the £2m ($2.7m) fee as part of a settlement with the Commission.
Leanne Oxley, UKGC director of enforcement, said BetVictor “failed consumers by breaching rules.” She added that non-compliance will “never be a viable business option for gambling businesses,” warning that the regulator “will always be tough on operators who fail in this way.”
The failings in question
A public statement on the UKGC website reveals the details of the failings. The regulator’s investigation centered on BV Gaming Limited (trading as BetVictor) operations between January 2019 and March 2020.
According to the Commission, BetVictor didn’t meet the expected standard in regards to its AML risk assessment. The company inadequately identified risks posed by money laundering, terrorist financing, and mitigating controls. In this way, the operator failed to efficiently prevent gambling from being a source of crime as per the Gambling Act 2005.
failed to protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm
In regards to social responsibility, the UKGC found deficiencies in responsible gambling policies, procedures, controls, and practices. This included weaknesses in implementation. As a result, BetVictor failed to protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm, another requirement under UK gambling law.
The operator – which runs betvictor.com, betvictor.mobi, bingo.co.uk, heartbingo.co.uk, and parimatch.co.uk – has acknowledged its failings and taken remedial action. The regulatory settlement consists of a £325,000 ($435,078) divestment of gross gambling yield gained as a result of the failings and a £1.72m ($2.3m) payment in lieu of a financial penalty.
As mentioned, the UKGC has already fined Genesis Global £3.8m ($5.1m) this year for failings relating to money laundering and social responsibility. On one occasion, the operator allowed an NHS nurse to gamble more than £200,000 ($267,769) in just three months. She was on an annual salary of just £30,000 ($40,296).
At the end of last year, the regulator issued a £780,000 financial penalty to Buzz Bingo. The online operator supposedly set financial triggers too high to properly identify at-risk gamblers. The operator also failed to intervene when customers aggressively gambled large amounts in quick succession, including one customer who gambled away £12,400 ($16,571) in just six days.
The largest UKGC sanction of 2021 came in March when the regulator hit Casumo with a $6m fee for breaching AML rules and failing to protect customers.