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Great Britain’s Gambling Commission has issued 888 with a fine of £9.4 million over a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings.
Upon imposing the fine, the chief executive of Gambling Commission Andrew Rhodes warned that if the same extent of lawbreaking happened again, the financial watchdog may have to “seriously consider the suitability of the operator” to fulfill the requirements to retain the licensee.
Moreover, while reviewing the company’s operating license, the Commission also determined a significant number of breaches. These included license condition 12.1.1, which covers the aspects of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, and license condition 12.1.1, associated with standards for foreign operators. In addition to this, 888 also failed to stay put with Social Responsibility Code Provision (SRCP) 3.4.1 related to client interaction, along with SRCP 3.9.1 for online verification of individual entities.
In addition to this, the Commission also said that issues related to social responsibility included failing to determine the risk of harm as its policies mandated them to carry out identity verification if deposits exceed 40,000 pounds. Furthermore, 888 have also not carried out customer interaction with an entity that lost £37,000 in six weeks during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The Gambling Commission also identified that most customer interaction consisted of an email pointing out the responsible gambling tools available and didn’t require a response from the gambler. The regulator stated they did not find any evidence of 888 placing restrictions on accounts where social responsibility concerns were raised.
The commission also noted that the gambling operator also failed to implement their own policies effectively. In this regard, the Commission also issued a warning to 888 under the Gambling Act 2005 and also provided additional conditions regarding the operating license. These conditions mandated the gambling service provider to conduct a third-party audit within 12 months of the Commission review, along with enhancing the anti-money laundering controls and social responsibility policies.
“The circumstances of the last enforcement action may be different but both cases involve failing consumers – and this is something that is not acceptable,” Rhodes said. “Today’s fine is one of our largest to date, and all should be clear that if there is a repeat of the failures at 888 then we have to seriously consider the suitability of the operator to uphold the licensing objectives and keep gambling safe and crime-free”.
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