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Compliance Updates

Smarkets Fined £630,000 for AML and Social Responsibility Failings

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed a £630,000 fine to betting exchange Smarkets after identifying a series of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings, including letting a player deposit a six-figure sum without appropriate checks.

According to UKGC, Smarkets allowed customers to gamble without carrying out sufficient source-of-funds checks, while the operator was also found to have failed to identify and interact with customers at risk of experiencing harm.

Specific examples published by the Commission included one customer being allowed to deposit £395,000 during a four-month period, without appropriate source of funds checks being carried out by Smarkets.

The Commission also highlighted a case where an individual was able to transfer significant levels of funds between accounts without scrutiny or source-of-funds checks.

Sarah Gardner, Commission Deputy CEO, said: “This case was identified through compliance checks and once again highlights how we will take action against gambling operators who fail their customers.

“Our investigation into Smarkets unearthed a variety of failures where customers were put at risk of gambling harm.

“It was obvious that poor systems and processes were in place which contributed to these breaches, driven by the company’s failure to effectively implement its policies and controls.”

The operator has also received a formal warning and will undergo an audit to ensure it is effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls, in line with section 117(1)(b) of the Gambling Act 2005.

Compliance Updates

UKGC Fines Betway £400,000 for Marketing on Children’s Webpages

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Online gaming operator Betway has been fined £408,915 by the UK Gambling Commission for marketing on the children’s pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website.

Commission enquiries revealed that between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021 the operator’s gambling logo, which linked to its website, was displayed on a webpage offering the opportunity to print a teddy bear for children to colour in.

Enquiries also revealed a logo with a link to the operator’s webpage featured on the “Young Hammers at Home” webpage between 24 October 2021 and 15 November 2021.

Both advertisements breached Commission rules stating gambling advertising must be socially responsible.

Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement, said: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do.

“Although there is no suggestion that the operator was deliberately targeting children, or that children had been allowed to gamble, we take the breach of any rules aimed at protecting children extremely seriously.

“We note the remedial actions since taken by licensee but advise all operators to learn from this case and ensure that they take responsibility and have the correct processes in place so that websites directed at children do not include advertisements for gambling.”

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Compliance Updates

STATEMENT FROM LIVESPINS

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Twitch’s statement banning remote licensed gambling sites from being streamed has made waves across the industry today. At HappyHour, we’ve long anticipated such news and what is certain is that gambling on mainstream media platforms will be volatile. We believe that the industry itself needs to take control of the space and provide a healthy, sustainable and highly engaging offer.

We foresee community and social experiences will be the future of online casino, which is why we invested heavily into Livespins.

Livespins gives the operators themselves the power to host a fully certified turnkey streaming platform on their website with the rigor and player protection lacking on mainstream media. Livespins offers players the ability to view and play the games they love, with reliable idols, through the account and balance they have created – where age checks, responsible gambling tools, and general safe play policies and processes are already in place.

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Compliance Updates

Swedish Gambling Regulator Orders Unlicensed Casineia to Exit Market

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Casineia operator Ease Gaming NV has been banned from offering games of chance in Sweden following a decision by Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen.

Casineia is an online casino operated by Ease Gaming, which is based in Curaçao. The operator does not have a Swedish licence and so, according to Sweden’s 2019 Gambling Act, is ineligible to operate in the Nordic country. Despite this, an investigation by Spelinspektionen found that the site was available to and aimed at Swedish consumers.

Ease Gaming will also be prohibited from offering gambling activities in the country on its other websites: Slothive, Gamblii and Jinxcasino.

Spelinspektionen said: “The Gambling Act applies to games provided in Sweden, with specifically stated exceptions. It is a prohibitive legislation that is based on the principle that everyone who acts on the Swedish gaming market must have a licence. It is therefore not permitted to provide games without a licence when one is required.

“The purpose of the new regulation is for gambling to be channeled to offers from responsible, reliable and controllable players. The regulation is based on the fact that everyone who acts on the Swedish gambling market must have a Swedish gambling licence and that other actors without a licence must be shut out.

“Spelinspektionen considers that, with regard to consumer protection and to guarantee gaming safety, it is important that the decision is complied with immediately.”

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