Online gaming company Daub Alderney, part of Stride Gaming Group, has been handed a £7.1m fine by the UK regulator “for failing to follow Gambling Commission rules aimed at preventing money laundering and protecting vulnerable consumers”.
In a decision notice published today, the Gambing Commission said its Regulatory Panel had found that the licensee had “breached conditions of its licence relating to anti-money laundering measures [and] failed to comply with social responsibility codes of practice”.
The regulator said that Daub Alderney, which runs over 100 online gambling brands and enjoys a quarter of the UK online bingo market, will also have extra conditions placed on its licence to provide gambling to consumers in Britain.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “This action is part of an ongoing investigation into the online casino sector.
“The operator’s standards did not match the protections required, and this fine reflects the seriousness of these lapses.”
The Regulatory Panel determined that, in line with the case assembled during the Gambling Commission investigation, Daub Alderney had failed to have in place sufficient levels of due diligence and had lacked the appropriate levels of risk assessment with regard to fighting money laundering.
Daub accepted that it had breached this licence condition and sought to remedy it immediately. This included an update of its AML procedures, which had been found to be in place but out of date.
With regard to social responsibility shortcomings, the Commission said: “Officials found that at the time of the corporate evaluation that there were significant limitations in the licensee’s ability to proactively identify and mitigate risk. This manifested itself in terms of resource, systems, and controls,” with examples cited.
The regulator also stated that Daub’s social responsibility policy and procedure “was not sufficient – it only gave examples to staff of potential issues as opposed to outlining detailed action to be taken to mitigate risk, and there were no specific policies for VIP customers”.
The Commission said that the licensee “acknowledged that, at the time of the corporate evaluation policies and procedures for customer interaction were not sufficient to identify problem gambling and could have been improved”.
The Panel also found failings in self-exclusion systems and in Daub’s complaints and disputes protocols. Read the full Decision Notice here.
Handing down the £7.1m fine and a Section 117(1)(a) warning, the Gambling Commission added the following conditions to Daub’s operating licence, requiring the company to:
- Appoint an appropriately qualified Money Laundering Reporting Officer who holds a Personal Management Licence;
- Ensure that all personal management licence holders, senior management and key control staff undertake outsourced anti money-laundering training;
- Continue its review of the effectiveness and implementation of its AML and social responsibility policies and procedures, and in addition engage external auditors, whose appointment and terms of reference must be agreed with the Commission, to sample the reviews that have been carried out to provide additional assurance as to the findings.