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Compliance Updates

UKGC: Licence Suspension and £3.8M Fine for Genesis Global Limited

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Britain’s gambling industry is being warned that the Commission “will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety” following enforcement action involving suspending an online casino from operating and then fining it £3.8m.

Genesis Global Limited – which runs 14 websites including genesiscasino.com, casinoplanet.com and casinocruise.com – has also been given a warning by the Commission and told it must undergo further extensive auditing.

The operator was suspended from operating in Britain after enquiries revealed significant social responsibility and money laundering failures.

Three months later (14 October 2020) the suspension was lifted following significant compliance improvements but the Commission’s investigation continued and now concluded with a £3.8m fine, a warning and an additional licence condition demanding further auditing.

Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, said: “All gambling businesses should pay very close attention to this case.

“The Commission will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety and that extends to stopping a business from actually operating.

“Failing to follow rules aimed at keeping gambling safe and crime-free will never be a viable business option for gambling businesses in Britain.”

Social responsibility failures included:

  • not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions with, or placing any effective restrictions on the account of, a customer who spent £245,000 in three months. Three days into their relationship Genesis knew the customer was an NHS nurse earning £30,000 a year
  • not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions or establishing affordability of a customer who lost £197,000 over six months. The same day the customer closed her account, stating she wanted to spend more time with her family, she was allowed to open another account with the business and deposit £200
  • not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions or establishing affordability of a customer who lost £234,000 in a six week period.

Money laundering failures included:

  • requested source of funds only after one customer had lost £209,000. Prior to this Genesis had estimated the customer was earning £111,000 a year because the consumer had told them they were a director and this was the average salary of directors in London. The operator failed to take into account the company was dormant and that there would be a wide range of director salaries. Genesis also failed to verify information supplied by the customer to substantiate the level of spend
  • a customer was allowed to deposit over £1,300,000 and lose £600,000 before carrying out sufficient source of funds checks. The customer provided Genesis with documentation including a bank statement which showed deposits into the account to the value of £23,000 and payments out to the value of £27,000 – clearly not enough to support the level of gambling
  • a customer was allowed to lose £107,000 over six months without carrying out sufficient source of funds checks. Genesis relied on assertion that the customer’s money came from an allowance from parents who owned factories overseas and failed to verify this information. The customer provided a number of bank statements, however, they did not evidence any source of income but did show transactions with other gambling operators.

Compliance Updates

BOS “Cautiously Positive” of Swedish Governmental Bill

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BOS, the Swedish trade association for online gambling, has expressed that it is “cautiously positive” of an array of proposals put forward by the country’s government in a bid to strengthen gambling regulation.

The bill suggests, among other things, the implementation of B2B licenses to take effect by 1 July 2023. It also suggests measures against marketing of unlicensed gambling and something the government entitles “adjusted moderation” regarding marketing of licensed gambling.

“It is entirely in line with what the government announced it would include and we are cautiously positive of this bill. The most striking thing is actually what is not included in the proposal, such as a ban on advertising for gambling on TV, radio and streaming media between 06-21. We are pleased that the government has listened to stakeholders in the gambling industry as well as several publishers who have pointed out the disadvantages of such a proposal,” Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of BOS, said.

“The remaining concern is the proposal for “adjusted moderation”. It seems to be a paraphrase of risk classification and the very ambiguity of what it actually means opens for legal uncertainty. Here, the legislator should consider whether it really wants to introduce further uncertainty regarding the interpretation of regulatory measures, uncertainty that risks leading to protracted court proceedings,” Gustaf Hoffstedt added.

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REGULATOR WARNS HIGHER FINES ON THE CARDS FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING ADS

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REGULATOR WARNS HIGHER FINES ON THE CARDS FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING ADS
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Online betting operators have been issued with more than $100,000 in fines over the past week as Liquor & Gaming NSW continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to the publication of illegal gambling inducements.

Most recently, online betting provider BetDeluxe has been fined $70,000 for publishing illegal gambling inducements after being prosecuted by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

This follows the successful prosecution of PointsBet, which was fined a total of $35,000 for publishing illegal gambling inducements last week, after receiving a $20,000 fine for the same offences in 2019.

Hospitality and Racing CEO, Anthony Keon said Liquor & Gaming NSW was continuing to pro-actively monitor online betting providers and it was completely unacceptable that seven bookmakers have been prosecuted on multiple occasions since 2018.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW will continue to actively pursue operators for illegal advertisements and advocate for the courts to issue higher penalties,” Mr Keon said.

“In 2018 the NSW Government introduced new laws to significantly increase penalties for wagering operators who are found guilty of promoting inducements to gamble, with maximum fines now set at $110,000 per offence for a corporation.

“Clearly some of these operators think gambling inducements are just the cost of doing business, but they are wrong, and they are pushing their luck. We will continue to bring these matters before the courts and seek higher penalties that reflect community expectations.”

In Downing Centre Local Court yesterday (18/5), BetDeluxe pleaded guilty to five offences that included 21 Facebook promotions for bonus bets on sports games and enhanced odds on horse racing.

In addition to the $70,000 in fines, BetDeluxe has also been ordered to pay $8,500 in legal costs. This is the first time the company has been prosecuted for this type of offence.

PointsBet pleaded guilty to two advertisements that included an Instagram promotion to get $50 back in bonus bets, similar to those it offered in 2019 on the Apple App Store, promising $100 cash back on certain bets.

“Prohibitions on gambling inducements are an important harm minimisation measure and the increase in maximum penalties, along with our continued prosecution action, should send a clear message to wagering operators about how seriously we view these matters,” Mr Keon said.

“Reoffenders run the risk of the higher range penalties, and more scrutiny, so let me be clear that patterns of poor compliance are not worth the trouble.

“We hope this is the first and last time we see BetDeluxe in court for gambling inducements.”

Since 2015, Liquor & Gaming NSW has successfully prosecuted 37 matters for prohibited gambling advertising, resulting in over $642,500 in fines, with nine betting providers currently before the courts.

 

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Compliance Updates

YGAM announced as the official charity partner for the VIXIO GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2022

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YGAM announced as the official charity partner for the VIXIO GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2022
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VIXIO GamblingCompliance is delighted to announce that the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) will once again be the official charity partner for the VIXIO GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards.

YGAM, which acted as the official charity partner for the 2020 and 2021 Global Regulatory Awards, is a national charity with a social purpose to inform, educate and safeguard young and vulnerable people against gambling and gaming harms. In recent years, YGAM has established itself as one of the leading charities delivering education programmes to help prevent harm and safeguard future generations.

Daniel Bliss, Director of External Affairs, YGAM, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen by VIXIO to be the official charity partner to these awards for a third year. It provides us with a valuable platform to raise awareness of the work we do to achieve our social purpose. We’re looking forward to the event and the opportunity to network with a wide range of stakeholders.”

Since their launch in 2017, the independently adjudicated Global Regulatory Awards have become the biggest of their kind, recognising and celebrating those who demonstrate excellence in responsible gambling, and are growing in importance as the industry moves towards a stronger culture of compliance. Winning a prestigious award is a sign of excellence and can enhance your reputation as a leader in the field of compliance and safer gambling.

Nominations for the Global Regulatory Awards officially close on June 30, 2022. Submitting a nomination is free, quick and easier than ever before and is open to industry newcomers and veterans alike.

This year’s VIXIO GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards ceremony will be held on November 30, 2022, and we will be returning to the prestigious De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London, the site of the 2021 ceremony where more than 250 senior industry professionals joined VIXIO to celebrate the achievements of that year’s star-studded class of winners.

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