UK Gambling Commission Fines Buzz Bingo Parent

December 16, 2021
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The Gambling Commission has fined Buzz Group, operator of buzzbingo.com, £780,000 for failures in social responsibility and anti-money laundering policies.

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The Gambling Commission has fined Buzz Group, operator of buzzbingo.com, £780,000 for failures in social responsibility and anti-money laundering policies.

The company also received a formal warning for failures that the commission said happened between October 2019 and December 2020.

Social responsibility failures included financial triggers that were set too high to identify players at risk of harm.

One customer was able to deposit £22,400 in five days without Buzz conducting “meaningful interaction”, the regulator said in an announcement today.

Players who gambled aggressively over short periods of time were not dealt with appropriately.

One player deposited and lost £12,400 over a six-day period but Buzz’s only record of interaction simply said that the customer was “coping well in COVID-19”, the commission said.

Anti-money laundering failures included source of funds checks being overly reliant on open-source or anecdotal information, the commission said.

Staff relied heavily on assurances provided verbally by customers, the regulator wrote.

In one case, the operator relied on claims of a large customer win as a source of funds for the player’s future gambling spend, without considering that the win might not be recycled winnings as claimed, and it may be the proceeds of crime, the commission said.

Multiple alerts were also recorded before customer AML interactions took place. One player hit nine financial alerts before their account was suspended pending AML checks, the regulator said.

In interactions, staff did not always follow the operator’s own policies in checking to see if the customer was comfortable with their gambling levels and if they felt in control.

The staff may not have then discussed responsible gambling tools and support resources as the policy called for, the commission said.

The operator also kept insufficient records of AML interactions with players, and it was often not clear what was discussed during those interactions, the regulator said.

“As a regulator we expect all operators to effectively implement policies and procedures which make gambling safe and crime-free”, said executive director Helen Venn.

“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.”

The fine centred on the company's digital operations, a spokesman for the regulator said.

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