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Compliance Updates

Widespread UKGC regulator action results in further £4.5m in penalties for online gambling sector

George Miller

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Widespread UKGC regulator action results in further £4.5m in penalties for online gambling sector
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Four gambling businesses are to pay a total of £4.5m in penalty packages as part of the Gambling Commission’s ongoing investigation into the online casino sector.

InTouch Games Limited will pay £2.2m, Betit Operations Limited will pay £1.4m, and MT Secure Trade will pay £700,000 in lieu of financial penalties, and BestBet will pay a financial penalty of £230,972.

The penalty packages relate to the businesses failings to put in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and keep consumers safe from gambling harm.

The penalty packages form part of an ongoing investigation into the online casino sector. 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.

Since the investigation began five operators have surrendered their licence and can no longer transact with consumers in Britain. In November 2018 three companies paid nearly £14m in penalty packages as result of their failings to put in place effective safeguards to prevent money laundering and keep consumers safe from gambling-related harm.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive Director, said: “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.”

Read InTouch Games Limited public statement

Read Betit Operations Limited public statement

Read MT Secure Trade public statement

Read BestBet Limited public statement

Asia

Singapore to Establish New Gambling Regulatory Authority in 2021

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: ramboll.com
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Singapore is set to establish a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) by 2021 to consolidate and optimise all gambling regulatory resources within a single agency.

The GRA will see the current Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), which oversees Singapore’s casinos, and the Gambling Regulatory Unit, which regulates remote gambling services and “fruit machines,” come under one umbrella.

The GRA will also govern terrestrial gambling services currently overseen by the Singapore Totalisator Board, illegal gambling activities enforced by the Singapore Police Force and even responsible gambling measures currently controlled by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that while Singapore’s current gambling regulatory framework has delivered positive outcomes, there are “emerging trends” that can have a significant impact on the gambling landscape.

“For example, technology has changed the way people gamble and made it more accessible. Business models have evolved to suit changing customer preferences by introducing gambling elements in products that are traditionally not seen as gambling,” the MHA said.

In response, the new GRA “will consolidate and optimize gambling regulatory resources within a single agency. This will allow GRA to stay even more effectively abreast of technological and global trends, respond faster to emerging products in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues.”

“Even as we update our laws, MHA will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators,” it said.

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Compliance Updates

German Court Orders Suspension of Sports Betting Licensing Process Until Further Notice

Niji Narayan

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German Court Orders Suspension of Sports Betting Licensing Process Until Further Notice
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The Darmstadt Administrative Court in Germany has ordered to suspend the nationwide sports betting licensing process until further notice. The move came after an Austrian betting operator, which is not a member of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), claimed that the licensing procedure was not transparent and non-discriminatory.

“The decision of the court is a big blow to our members. Even though we were promised concessions by the legislator back in 2012, an early approval, which should have been made possible by the State Treaty on Gaming, which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, is now once again in the stars,” Mathias Dahms, President of DSWV, said.

“It is particularly annoying that there could have been permits for a long time. The Gambling Council (Glücksspielkollegiums) has not been able to reach an agreement for weeks, even though decisions were all set to be made. This body of 16 competent officials from the state ministries is responsible for the final release of the permits,” he added.

“Sports betting providers in Germany are once again denied access to a regulated market and thus legal certainty. The applicants have once again invested a lot of effort and energy into the process and prepared for the regulated market. I also feel sorry for the employees in the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council, who have been very committed in the past few months to finally make the approval process a success. We hope the authorities can continue to issue permits quickly,” Dahms added.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC Suspends Two Operator Licences Over GAMSTOP Participation Failure

Niji Narayan

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UKGC Suspends Two Operator Licences Over GAMSTOP Participation Failure
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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has suspended the licences of two online operators for failure to fully integrate with the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme. All online operators were notified in January that participating in GAMSTOP by 31 March was a requirement of their licence conditions.

The decision to suspend the licences of Dynamic, trading as Prophet, and Sportito was taken for failure to comply. After the suspension is implemented, Sportito has now integrated and its suspension has been lifted.

“We have made it clear to operators that we are ready and willing to use our powers to protect consumers, as this action demonstrates. Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GAMSTOP by 31 March. We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadline, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk,” Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of UKGC, said.

“One of the suspensions has now been lifted as the operator is now compliant. Our investigations into both operators continue,” Neil McArthur added.

The suspension of Dynamic’s licence will remain in place until the Commission is satisfied that the operator has fully integrated the GAMSTOP scheme and is fully compliant with their licence conditions.

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