Just weeks after issuing a fine of £2.87m to British gambling operator Betfred, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) was called upon to act again, this time in relation to NSUS Limited, the company operating GGPoker.co.uk.
The operator of the world’s biggest online poker site at the moment was fined £672,829 (close to $724,000) for failures in social responsibility practices and anti-money laundering measures, both of which fall under the licensee’s responsibilities.
In its report, the UKGC concluded that NSUS Limited failed in several key aspects related to social responsibility practices and anti-money laundering practices.
The operator was found at fault for failing to identify customers who were potentially at risk of problem gambling and failing to contact and interact with customers who were already identified as at-risk.
According to the UKGC findings, GGPoker contacted 125 of its customers who are on the self-exclusion list via marketing emails, thus breaking the terms of its license. The self-exclusion list allows players to demand not to be allowed to play and not to be contacted by any of the operators licensed by the UKGC, which GGPoker failed to enact on this occasion.
Further violations were found concerning the anti-money laundering measures, which are also a part of the operator’s obligations and responsibilities.
Such violations were due to a failure to conduct proper risk assessments of business being used for money laundering or terrorist financing and a failure to enact procedures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Among other responsibilities, UK gambling operators must ensure that all deposits coming into player accounts are coming from a traceable source and that all transactions are made with the sole intent of participating in the games they run rather than any attempts at transferring funds to other players or avoiding the regular flows of monetary transactions (potential money laundering or tax evasion).
The company has received a financial penalty of £672,829 for all these violations combined, along with an official written warning from the regulator. The fines and warnings are designed to help raise awareness of problem gambling issues and entice the operators to conduct their business in an even more socially responsible manner.
While Betfred was the operator to be fined most recently before GGPoker, the £17m fine issued to Entain (the operator behind the likes of partypoker, bwin, Ladbrokes, Coral, etc.) remains the biggest one enacted by the UKGC to date. These fines were also issued for failure to implement similar social responsibility practices, an offense that the Commission takes very seriously.
The UKGC remains one of the world’s most proactive gambling regulators, often conducting investigations of its licensees and issuing fines and penalties whenever breaches of the licensing terms are found.
This makes online gambling operators regulated by the UKGC some of the safest and most trustworthy ones out there, as the watchful eye of the Commission makes sure that things run smoothly at all times and ensures that operators are held accountable for any mistakes in their operations.