The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that two online casinos will have to pay an overall amount of £1.3 million after an investigation held by the industry watchdog revealed that both businesses failed to comply with some social responsibility rules.
As the UKGC announced, Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited, which is currently trading as grosvenorcasino.com, bellacasino.com, meccagames.com and meccabingo.com, is set to pay a regulatory settlement worth £700,557 for its social responsibility failures. The other company that would be affected by the UK gambling regulatory action is Annexio (Jersey) Limited, which is trading as lottogo.com. The company agreed to a regulatory settlement worth £612,000 for some failures to comply with anti-money laundering and social responsibility rules.
The UK gambling watchdog revealed in a statement that the money received as a result of the two companies’ settlements will be contributed to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Rank Digital Gaming to Pay £700,557 for 3 Breaches of Social Responsibility Code Provisions (SRCPs)
As mentioned above, Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited has been one of the two companies affected by the latest UKGC regulatory action, which also included a review of its Combined Remote Operating Licence No.038750-R-319345-023. The company was found to have failed to stay in line with the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) in the period from October 2019 to February 2021.
The UKGC has reminded that gambling firms that are allowed to operate in the UK have a legal duty to make sure that their services are provided in line with the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. Furthermore, the provision of their services should be carried out in accordance with their licensing objectives and the conditions of their operating permits.
The investigation of the UK gambling industry watchdog found three major social responsibility failures of the operator. The violations were associated with customer interaction, individual customers’ identification and self-exclusion:
- Violation of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of SRCP 3.4.1 associated with customer interaction in the period from October 2019 to February 2021;
- Violation of Paragraph 2 (b) of the SRCP 3.9.1 associated with the identification of individual customers in the period from June 2020 to February 2021;
- Violation of Paragraph 6 of the SRCP 3.5.3 associated with customers self-exclusion in the period between November 2020 and February 2021.
As mentioned above, the UKGC and Rank Digital Gaming (Alderney) Limited inked a regulatory settlement, which consists of £700,557 in lieu of a financial penalty. The company also agreed to the publication of the facts associated with the case. Furthermore, it will cover the costs made by the UK Gambling Commission during the investigation.
Annexio (Jersey) Limited to Pay £612,000 for 3 Licence Condition Breaches and SRCP Compliance Failure
Annexio (Jersey) Limited, which is trading as Affiliate Empire and lottogo.com, was also affected by the regulatory action. The investigation resulted in a regulatory review of the company’s Combined Remote Operating License No. 051692-R-329113-006 that started on April 14th, 2021 and found some failures in the gambling operator’s processed linked to the prevention of money laundering and customer protection between October 2019 and November 2021.
The UK Gambling Commission revealed that its investigation into the company’s operations and the subsequent regulatory review found violations of anti-money laundering procedures, policies and controls, weaknesses in the operator’s reporting arrangements, as well as deficiencies in Annexio’s responsible gambling procedure, policies, practices and controls:
- Violation of Paragraph 1 (a), (b) and (c) of Licence condition 12.1.1 regarding anti-money laundering in the period from October 2019 and November 2021;
- Violation of Paragraph 2 of Licence condition 12.1.1 in the period from October 2019 and December 2020;
- Violation of Paragraph 3 of Licence condition 12.1.1 in the period from October 2019 and December 2020;
- Failure to comply with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of SRCP 3.4.1 associated with customer interaction in the period from October 2019 and December 2020;
- Violation of Licence condition 15.2.1 associated with reporting key events in August 2020.
As reported above, the regulatory settlement inked between the UKGC and the gambling company consists of a £612,000 payment in lieu of a financial penalty. Annexio (Jersey) Limited is also set to cover the regulatory costs of investigating the case.