UK Betting Exchange Smarkets Hit With £630,000 UKGC Fine

  • Smarkets has received a six-figure fine for AML and social responsibility failings
  • The betting exchange must also submit to a third-party audit as part of its penalty
  • The UKGC said the case shows the outcome for “operators who fail their customers”
  • However, a review of Smarkets customers “found no evidence of criminal spend”
Gavel and pounds
Not long after dishing out a monster fine for LeoVegas, the UKGC has hit betting exchange Smarkets with a six-figure fine for anti-money laundering and social reponsibility failings. [Image:]

Multiple failings

In the UK, betting exchange Smarkets (Malta) Limited now has to pay a £630,000 ($745,594) fine for multiple social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings.

The UK Gambling Commission revealed its latest punitive measure on Thursday via a news release shared on Twitter:

The London-headquartered betting exchange has to pony up the six-figure sum for allowing customers to gamble without running adequate source of funds (SOF) checks, and for failing to identify and engage with customers at risk of experiencing harm.

an order to submit to a third-party audit

The UKGC issued Smarkets with a formal warning along with an order to submit to a third-party audit. The regulatory body said the action would ensure Smarkets is “effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies, procedures, and controls.”

Lack of checks

The UKGC is truly firing on all cylinders this month, having already hit LeoVegas with a £1.32m ($1.6m) fine. An investigation into the online gambling operator unearthed the same top-line failings that Smarkets has just received its penalty for.

According to the UKGC news release, one Smarkets customer who’d never had “appropriate” SOF checks deposited £395,000 ($467,283) over four months. The UKGC also cited another failing whereby a customer transferring “significant levels of funds between accounts” did so without scrutiny or SOF checks.

we will take action against gambling operators”

The UKGC’s deputy CEO Sarah Gardner said: “This case was identified through compliance checks and once again highlights how we will take action against gambling operators who fail their customers.”

Exposed to gambling harm

Gardner added that the UKGC’s probe into Smarkets revealed multiple failures exposing customers to the risk of gambling harm. The deputy CEO outlined that the breaches were a combination of “poor systems and processes” along with Smarket’s failure to impose controls and policies.

The UKGC also stated, however, that Smarkets cooperated with its investigation and “took corrective steps to address the identified failings.” It added that its review of customers identified during the Compliance assessment “found no evidence of criminal spend with the Licensee.”

According to Smarkets’ website, the betting exchange permits its customers to “back and lay with the best betting odds and lowest commission on all major sports and politics.”

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