Gamesys To Pay £6m Penalty For AML, Social Responsibility Failures

January 10, 2024
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London-listed online operator Gamesys is set to pay a £6m penalty and undergo a third-party audit after a UK Gambling Commission investigation revealed a host of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failings.
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Online operator Gamesys is set to pay a £6m penalty and undergo a third-party audit after a UK Gambling Commission investigation revealed a host of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failings.

Social responsibility issues at Gamesys, which was acquired by US casino operator Bally’s Corporation in 2021, included not always identifying customers at risk of experiencing harms associated with gambling, according to a Gambling Commission press release this morning (January 10).

This came as a result of the operator placing “inappropriate reliance on checks which indicate whether a customer had a historical individual voluntary arrangement or been bankrupt as a sign of gambling harm”, as well as having a “system of deposit limits which, for some customers, did not identify risks of harm quickly enough”.

No risks were identified when one customer deposited £8,255 within three days of opening an account, another lost £5,968 within five weeks of opening an account and another lost £17,482 within 34 days of opening an account, the commission said.

Gamesys also did not always interact with customers who may be at risk of or experiencing harms associated with gambling, with an example given of one customer receiving a responsible gambling interaction after they lost £10,000 that included the recommendation of new games and promotions. Another customer who lost £19,709 over five months only received one responsible gambling interaction.

Records of interactions and the reasoning behind them were also “not always recorded in sufficient detail, despite this being specified in the Licensee’s responsible gambling procedures”, the regulator said.

AML failures included allowing some customers to evade Gamesys' triggers/thresholds and go on to spend significant sums without checks being conducted. 

One of these customers deposited £14,585 in 28 weeks, another deposited £18,884 in just over six months and another deposited £34,280 in five and a half months, the commission said.

Gamesys also conducted “inadequate customer due diligence” as it was over-reliant on third-party information, which included internet research or the customer’s verbal assurances for several customers, the regulator said.

Kay Roberts, Gambling Commission executive director of operations, said: “Our focus as a regulator is to ensure that operators are employing policies and procedures which make gambling fair, safe and crime-free.

“We take this responsibility extremely seriously and whenever we find failures in policies and procedures then the business can expect significant regulatory action.”

The breaches occurred between November 2021 and July 2022 and were revealed during a Gambling Commission compliance assessment in May 2022.

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