UKGC imposes tougher licence conditions on BGO, GAN & NetBet

BGO Entertainment, GAN and NetBet have concluded regulatory settlements with the UK Gambling Commission following an investigation into social responsibility and money laundering failures.

The three online gambling operators were all subject to licence reviews following a number of failures, which included not doing enough to keep consumers safe and failing to prevent money laundering and criminal spend.

As a result, BGO and GAN have had tougher conditions imposed on their licenses, while all three must improve their policies and procedures as well as making payments to progress the work of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.  

The Commission will also be reviewing the actions of the individual Personal Management Licence holders in all three of these cases.

Richard Watson, executive director at the Gambling Commission, commented: “Licensees must protect consumers from harm and treat them fairly. Our recent investigations uncovered a variety of consumer protection and anti-money laundering failings at each of these three operators and as a result we are using a range of enforcement tools against them.  

“We will continue to crack down on failing operators through our tough and proactive compliance and enforcement work.” 

In the case of BGO, the firm was found to have failed to have effective policies and procedures in place for customers who may be displaying signs of problem gambling between September 25, 2018, and March 23, 2020. It was also found to have failed to have effective and adequately resourced anti-money laundering controls in place between September 25, 2018 and July 21, 2020.  

As a consequence BGO will have additional conditions imposed on its licence which involve carrying out extra social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks on its top customers. The business has also been issued with a £2m payment in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 

GAN was found to have failed to comply with four licence conditions focused on social responsibility and anti-money laundering between August 2018 and September 2019.

This includes having ineffective anti-money laundering policies and procedures, not displaying warnings that underage gambling is an offence on its website and poor customer interaction guidance. 

As a consequence GAN will have additional conditions imposed on its licence which involve continued reviewal of the effectiveness and implementation of its AML and SR policies, procedures and controls, and extra training for personal management licence holders and senior staff. The business will also pay £146,000 in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 

NetBet is said to have failed to comply with two licence conditions focused on social responsibility and anti-money laundering, including not carefully scrutinising source of funds documentation provided by customers and not implementing its responsible gambling policy effectively between November 20, 2018, and May 29, 2019.

As a consequence the group will make a number of changes to its processes, including giving greater regard to the log-in time of its customers during responsible gambling customer assessments, automatic limits placed on customers demonstrating early signs of problem gambling and providing consumers with access to an affordability calculator. 

The business will also pay £748,000 in lieu of a financial penalty, which will be directed towards delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.