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Compliance Updates

UKGC Imposes £780,000 Fine on Buzz Group

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Buzz Group, which operates buzzbingo.com, has been fined £780,000 by the UK Gambling Commission for failures relating to social responsibility and anti-money laundering procedures.

Buzz Group also received a formal warning for the failures which occurred between October 2019 and December 2020.

Social responsibility failures included: financial triggers not sufficiently identifying at-risk players as they were set too high. One customer was able to deposit £22,400 in five days without the operator conducting a meaningful interaction within that period.

Systems not sufficiently identifying at-risk players. Two customers won large amounts of money gambling, yet the operator failed to consider the increased risk of gambling harm to those customers despite the customers displaying high levels of spend.

Not carrying out effective customer interactions with customers who gambled aggressively over short periods of time. One customer deposited and lost £12,400 during a six-day period but the operator’s only record of a customer interaction simply stated customer was ‘coping well in COVID-19’once a decision to interact with a customer had been made staff did not always sufficiently follow the requirement of the operator’s own customer interaction procedure to check the customer was comfortable with their gambling levels, if they felt in control, and then discuss responsible gambling tools and support resources.

Anti-money laundering failures included: triggers prompting source of funds (SOF) checks being over reliant on open source or anecdotal information such as staff relying heavily on assurances provided verbally by customers during interactions.

In one instance the operator placed reliance on a large customer win as the SOF for the customer’s future gambling spend without considering that it might not be recycled winnings and that it may be the proceeds of crime

Multiple alerts needed to be activated before a customer AML interaction took place. One customer was able to hit nine financial alerts before their account was suspended pending an AML interaction. The operator keeping insufficient records of AML interactions with customers and it was often not clear what had been discussed during those interactions.

The case against Buzz Group Ltd, like other recent enforcement action, was the result of planned compliance activity.

Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, said: “As a regulator we expect all operators to effectively implement policies and procedures which make gambling safe and crime-free. Every single gambling business should be aware that we do check that these are in place and are being adhered to. If they are not, we will take action.”

 

Dominic Mansour, Chief Operating Officer, Digital, Buzz Bingo commented:

“One of Buzz Bingo’s core values has always been to put players first and protect those that are vulnerable. Buzz Bingo is fully committed to ensuring it meets the highest standards of compliance across its digital platform buzzbingo.com, including its anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.

The fine from the Gambling Commission relates to legacy issues that have now been addressed. Buzz Bingo has reviewed and overhauled all its compliance measures and is confident that current policies and processes now meet the standards set. Moreover, Buzz Bingo has increased its current and ongoing investment to enhance all its risk and compliance processes to continually improve player protection.”

Compliance Updates

Playnetic strengthens European presence with licence to operate in Sweden

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Playnetic strengthens European presence with licence to operate in Sweden
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Playnetic, the new immersive B2B iGaming provider has announced that it has been granted a Swedish licence, following regulatory approval from the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen. 

The licence allows Playnetic to launch its catalogue of innovative iGaming titles in Sweden, enabling the company to finalise partnerships with prominent operators across the country. 

This significant milestone marks a major step forward in supporting Playnetic’s ambitious growth plans, which include increasing its foothold in other European markets, as well as continued expansion in regulated markets across the globe. 

Dan Phillips, Playnetic CEO said: “Since launching in early 2023, Playnetic has been exploring expansion opportunities in Europe to penetrate new markets and we are thrilled with achieving this milestone.  

“Thanks to our experienced compliance team, we were able to obtain this licence promptly, which is a huge positive as the market entry lines up perfectly with our regulatory roadmap for 2024. We are looking forward to launching our innovative suite of games which feature captivating themes and mechanics to players and operators in Sweden.” 

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Bulgarian President Approves Gambling Law Amendments

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Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has decided not to veto the proposed amendments to the Gambling Law, which include a prohibition on gambling advertisements in the media.

Previously, President Radev had indicated that he was deliberating on the changes to the Gambling Law and was awaiting input from his advisors before making a final decision.

The prohibition on gambling advertisements in the media was approved by a significant majority of deputies during the final session of the 49th National Assembly. Despite objections raised by various media outlets, gambling operators, sports clubs, and other businesses between the readings, the amendments were endorsed. Some stakeholders argued against the ban, suggesting that public discussion should precede its adoption.

The initiative for the amendments originated from GERB and DPS, and it was introduced unexpectedly during the last days of the 49th National Assembly by Yordan Tsonev (DPS) and Temenuzka Petkova (GERB). The bill swiftly progressed through the legislative process, passing its first reading in the budget committee and subsequently receiving approval in the plenary session. An extraordinary meeting of the Committee on Budget and Finance was convened to facilitate the voting on the amendments before the deputies commenced their pre-election recess.

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Compliance Updates

Playson awarded ISO/IEC 27001:2022 certification

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Playson, the fast-growing digital entertainment supplier, has been granted an ISO/IEC 27001:2022 certificate, reinforcing its commitment to implementing robust compliance measures.

Having previously gained an ISO 27001:2013 certificate three years ago, this updated version is key in safeguarding sensitive information and required for Playson to hold its existing licences in valuable regulated markets.

This latest development coincides with Playson’s plans to further extend its outreach across a number of regions over the next 12 months, paving the way for the supplier to enter new jurisdictions in a more streamlined way.

The accreditation was awarded by Quinel and recognises the provider’s adherence in aligning with the standards that the International Organisation for Standardisation sets, demonstrating its ability to mitigate any information security risks whilst meeting all necessary legal and regulatory requirements.

The 2022 version includes updates and revisions to better address contemporary information security risks and challenges, such as those related to cloud computing, remote working, and emerging technologies. It provides organisations with a framework for implementing and managing an effective information security management system (ISMS) to protect their sensitive information assets.

Vsevolod Lapin, Deputy CEO at Playson, said: “The transition to ISO 2022 is welcome news for the business, and shows our continued dedication to compliance and regulation. Partners can rest assured of Playson’s heightened security measures and adherence to international standards with us acquiring this certificate.

“Greece, Ontario and Sweden are vital territories for Playson, with this certification also necessary for the Swiss market, and I expect the ISO 2022 to be required for more jurisdictions in the future, so this recognition has been received at a good time as we look to strengthen our global standing.”

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