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Compliance Updates

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

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UKGC Warns Operators Over Third Party Responsibilities As FSB Receive Sanctions For Failings
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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

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Asia

China to Expand Blacklist of Overseas Gambling Destinations Again

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China to Expand Blacklist of Overseas Gambling Destinations Again
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China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced its plans to introduce a “third batch” of blacklist measures aimed at overseas tourist destinations that attract Chinese tourists for gambling activities.

The ministry also said it would work with several other government departments to “suspend tour groups and arrangement of tourist visas” for outbound travel to these destinations.

As with earlier official mentions of China’s overseas-gambling blacklist, the latest announcement did not identify the places concerned.

The ministry mentioned on Friday its previous approach of including several overseas destinations – in “two batches” – in its “blacklist system” for cross-border gambling tourist destinations. It said such an approach was to “better regulate the travel market” and “safeguard the lives and financial safety of Chinese citizens”.

“The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to adopt a measure to blacklist a third batch of travel destinations, in response to the recent developments whereby some cities abroad have lured Chinese tourists for gambling activities,” stated the ministry.

It added: “The ministry will – together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the National Immigration Administration and the Civil Aviation Administration of China – adopt measures to suspend outbound tour groups and the arrangement of tourist visas for trips to these cities and attractions abroad that are on the ‘blacklist’; and reinforce the restrictive measures on business jets [travel] and charter services.”

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism also noted that the “blacklist” of travel destinations would be “dynamically adjusted” in accordance to any changes seen in overseas markets.

Under a new amendment in mainland China criminal law – with effect from March 1 – anyone who “organises” trips for mainland Chinese for the purpose of overseas gambling will be deemed to have committed a criminal act.

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Central Europe

HooYu Launches New KYC Solution for German Gambling Market

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HooYu Launches New KYC Solution for German Gambling Market
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Leading KYC provider HooYu has launched a new KYC solution for the German gambling market.

The single solution orchestrates Schufa identity data checks, KJM-approved facial biometrics and ID document validation, video verification with a live human agent, PEPs and Sanctions watchlist screening and payment card checks.

This range of services can be orchestrated via HooYu to make gaming operators fully compliant with age verification and KYC requirements in the German market. The five services can be orchestrated to deliver different journeys for different customer lifecycle stages such as sign-up, high-value deposit, fraud risk and pay-out.

“The HooYu suite of services truly supports German gaming operators to meet age verification and AML compliance requirements,” Jochen Biewer, German gambling licensing expert and Managing Director of Chevron Consultants GmBH, said.

“HooYu is a KYC orchestration and customer onboarding platform that not only helps operators to build KYC processes, but to maximise customer onboarding success rates. German operators can now use one HooYu API to call on any or all of these services as part of their age verification, fraud or anti-money laundering controls,” David Pope, Marketing Director at HooYu, said.

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Compliance Updates

Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €500,000 Fine on N1 Interactive Limited

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Dutch Gambling Regulator Imposes €500,000 Fine on N1 Interactive Limited
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Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has imposed a fine of €500,000 (£425,967.50) on Maltese-based company N1 Interactive Limited.

Since the Netherlands operates a regulated offline gambling market, whereby online gambling is not yet (but soon to be) allowed, N1 received a fine for offering illegal gaming to Dutch players.

Words like “Amsterdam” were used as bonus codes aimed towards the Dutch audience, alongside zero indication on the N1 website of the Netherlands being a prohibited country for online gaming. The amount of the fine was determined across a number of circumstances; and extra fines were accrued by N1 for failing to add a visible age verification option alongside charging players extra for “inactivity fees”.

Legally, offering any online gambling is only permitted if a company has a licence. It is especially unlawful to offer any type of online gambling via the internet to the Netherlands, a country which previously banned online gambling, and according to the KSA is deemed as “forbidden”.

There seems to be a slight revamp in this regulation since 1 April when the Remote Gambling Act (KOA) came into effect. With this, it will now be possible to apply for a licence to offer online gaming from 1 October 2021.

With a view to protecting the Netherlands from illegal online gambling, the KSA has ensured N1’s website, Betchan, has since been removed and is no longer accessible.

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