The news surrounding the UK Gambling Commission last week was mainly concerning the Chief Executive of the organisation stepping down from his position as well as the failing of In Touch Games and Football Index. On March 11, the regulator decided to suspend the license of BetIndex (T/A Football Index) as an investigation revealed that the platform was not conducting its service in accordance with the regulations imposed by the Commission.
Last week began with the announcement about the Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, leaving his post. Following the decision about the license of Football Index, this week, the Commission announced actions against In Touch Games and its operations.
UK Gambling Commission Chief Executive Steps Down From His Position
Neil McArthur began his career in the Gambling Commission back in 2006, taking the position of General Counsel. In 2018, he became the Chief Executive of the organisation and spent a total of almost 15 years working for the UK Gambling Commission.
While McArthur was heading the Commission, there were several new regulatory measures introduced to the gambling market in the UK. As online gambling began to grow rapidly in the past few years, the regulatory body started working on better regulation of the digital gambling industry in the country.
McArthur oversaw some of the changes that ensured better protection of vulnerable individuals. A few of these measures include the ban of credit cards for gambling-related payments, the enhanced age-verifying checks, and the changes in the design of online products. Meanwhile, McArthur was also the head of the organisation during the challenging times that came along with the Covid-19 pandemic. As problem-gambling rates became higher, it was the Commission’s main concern to protect UK players and prevent any gambling-related harms during these trying times.
The process of recruiting an interim Chief Executive will begin soon, while the person who will permanently take this position will be chosen later this year by the new chairman of the Commission. While the recruitment of a new Chief Executive is ongoing, the position of Acting Chief Executive will be taken by both Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Gardner and Chief Operating Officer Sally Jones.
UK Gambling Commission Fines In Touch Games Following Operational Failings
Last week, In Touch Games Limited received a warning issued by the UK Gambling Commission and was fined £3.4 million. The company is due to undergo extensive auditing as the regulatory body revealed a number of failings related to money laundering, social responsibility, and marketing.
In Touch Games Limited is the operator that runs bonusboss.co.uk, casino2020.co.uk, casino.mfortune.co.uk, cashmo.co.uk, and drslot.co.uk. The assessment of the operator revealed social responsibility failures related to warning customers about being able to receive a bonus if they go through an identity verification process. The operator also failed to follow its policies and procedures in seven different cases when the activity of customers did indicate problem gambling patterns. Had the licensed operator used the relevant tools and measures for mandatory limits, it would have provided more effective customer interactions for these seven individuals.
The anti-money laundering failings included neglecting the risk that came along with allowing customers to use a payment solution that also acts as a cryptocurrency exchange. The operator did not apply enhanced customer due diligence measures and failed to assess the source of funds information that was provided.
The Commission also revealed that the operator failed to warn customers about the minimum and maximum deposit limits in an SMS text which was supposed to inform them about key bonus terms and conditions. The time limit for the offer to be claimed was also missing from the information provided in the SMS text.
In Touch Games was required to conduct a thorough audit carried out by an independent company. The auditing process must ensure that the operator complies with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.
UK Gambling Commission Issues BetIndex Update
At the end of the week, the Gambling Commission issued an update on the BetIndex (Football Index) case. At the end of the report, the Commission stated important information concerning consumers who were impacted by the license suspension of Football Index.
According to BetIndex solicitors, the Trust Account where the operator holds dividends that are used to pay winning customers has suspended payments. The account will remain suspended until the entitlements of customers can be properly estimated. BetIndex has also required directions from the Court as to how to treat the funds in its Trust Account. The Gambling Commission assured affected customers that the funds in this Trust Account will not be credited to anyone else but the customers of the operator. It is, however, up to the Court to decide when and to whom the funds will be distributed.