The UK Gambling Commission has issued £4.5m in penalty packages to four online casino operators, as a result of anti-money laundering and safeguard failings.

Forming part of an ongoing investigation into the online sector, InTouch Games’ £2.2m penalty package is for failing to meet AML customer risk assessments and not complying with the UKGC’s social responsibility code, in relation to customer interactions.

In its assessment the regulator stressed that “there were weaknesses in its systems relating to how it managed its customers for AML and social responsibility purposes.”

Furthermore, penalty packages of £1.4m and £700,000 were also issued to Betit Operations and MT Secure Trade, for a failure to maintain AML controls and undertake customer due diligence procedures.

In its assessment of Betit, the operating company of the and brands, the UKGC stated that it had numerous failures with requirements around personal management and key event notifications.

Finally a £230,972 penalty fell the way of BestBet, after finding “weaknesses in its systems relating to how it managed its customers for AML and social responsibility purposes”.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said of the four penalty packages handed down: “We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free, and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online every month can do so safely.

“But our work will not stop here. As a regulator, we will continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers.

“We expect operators to know their customers, and to ask the right questions to make sure they meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”

Over the last 18 months the regulator has conducted assessments of, or engaged with, 123 online operators, and of the 45 told to submit an action plan to raise standards 38 have already showed signs of improvement.

A further 34 were compliant with standards expected by the Commission or had minor issues which have been, or are in the process of being, remedied.