Last week, the UK Gambling Commission fined the casino operator Casumo due to operational failings. This followed the previous warnings and fines the regulator has issued towards other operators like In Touch Games and Football Index. In addition to the fine issued to the casino operator, last week, the Gambling Commission also published data that showed the pandemic’s effect on UK gamblers during January and February.
UK Gambling Commission Fines Casumo For Operational Failings
Following an investigation of the UK Gambling Commission, it was revealed that Casumo was failing in the social responsibility and the anti-money laundering sectors. The Commission’s investigation showed that the operator did not comply with customer interaction policies. This has led to failures in preventing problem gambling tendencies among some Casumo customers. The Gambling Commission fined Casumo £6 million and issued an official warning.
As a result of the social responsibility failings of Casumo, one customer suffered losses of £1.1 million over the period of 3 years. During that time, the customer was not subjected to any responsible gambling interventions. Meanwhile, another customer of Casumo suffered a loss of £65,000 in just one month and was also not introduced to any responsible gambling tools. The same failures were demonstrated when a third customer suffered a total loss of £76,000 over seven months.
Since Casumo failed to follow the customer interaction guidelines of the Gambling Commission, a member of the casino lost £89,000 in just 5 hours and another one suffered a £59,000 loss over 90 minutes.
As mentioned earlier, the investigation also revealed anti-money laundering failings. Casumo members were allowed to deposit large amounts of money without going through careful anti-money laundering (AML) checks. Source of Funds (SOF) checks were also not thorough as payslips and invoices were not verified with bank statements or another piece of evidence.
Even in cases when customers provided bank statements, the operator failed to assess them properly. There are several instances where Casumo members have provided bank statements that were showing only credits and did not express the real balance of the respective customers.
The casino operator did not assess the right spending limits based on the income of customers or other risk factors that should be taken into consideration. There were also instances when Casumo accepted statements of winnings from other gambling operators as SOF and did not go into further examinations.
Following the investigation, Casumo was required to conduct an audit of transactions that took place after 1 July 2020. The auditing must be conducted by a group of independent auditors who should provide evidence for Casumo operating in compliance with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.
The Effect of Covid-19 on UK Gamblers in January and February 2021
Last week, the Gambling Commission published data on the impact the strict Covid-19 measures had on gambling behaviour among British people. The latest update by the Commission reflects the effect on the online gambling industry in the UK after all land-based gaming facilities were closed down in December.
The data showed a decline in the online market activity in February, following the traditionally busy month of December. The number of active accounts dropped by 4% and the bets were down by 6%. Compared to December 2020, the gross gambling yield (GGY) marked a 19% decline in February 2021.
Between the period between December and February, the slots GGY declined by 1%, sinking to nearly £177 million. The data for the same period showed a decline in bets as well, decreasing 7% to under 5 billion. Meanwhile, the number of active accounts remained almost the same after its peak at 3 million in January.
In January, the number of online slots sessions that last over an hour peaked at 2.6 million. In February, however, their number decreased to 2.5 million, marking a 1% decrease since December. The average time spent playing online remains at 21.5 minutes and about 9% of all sessions surpass the time of one hour.
The data for the first two months of 2021 show that British people may feel more isolated after the long lockdown period during the pandemic. Other factors that may make people more vulnerable include the uncertainty about their finances and the new restrictions imposed during the pandemic. These circumstances may lead to many people turning to gambling for the first time, while regular gambler may spend even more time betting online. These were the reasons for the Gambling Commission reminding gambling operators of the guidelines they should follow during the challenging pandemic period.