Last week, the gambling sector in the UK was yet again concerned with ensuring a safer environment for players in the UK. The first training day of the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG) was held last week by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). The purpose of the workshop was to give operators guidelines for reducing money laundering risks and providing best practice.
Another step to ensure a safer gambling environment in the UK was taken by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The body sanctioned SkillOnNet due to the misleading “Hot or Cold” wording used in the advertisements of PlayOJO.
BGC Finished First Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group Training Session
Last week, the BGC held the first training session for the GAMLG. The event was focusing on providing operators with more information on preventing money-laundering risks and conducting best practices. To be able to avoid money-laundering risks, operators must first be able to recognize high-emergency risks, which was one of the main goals of the training session.
About 30 major betting and gaming companies had 80 delegates attending the first GAMLG training event. The day-long session had representatives of businesses such as William Hill, Playtech, Gamesys, Entain, Genting, and Betway to name a few. Some of the special guests who gave speeches at the event included UKGC Senior Manager, Claire Wilson, and National Crime Agency (NCA) Director General, Graeme Biggar.
Some of the key discussions on the first day of GAMLG training were focused on the current regulator system implemented in the UK gambling industry. Recent regulatory actions against major operators were also highlighted as examples that should serve as lessons to other gambling and betting businesses. Money laundering risks and other threats the gambling industry is currently facing were also discussed at the first training session.
The BGC commented that teaching operators best practice and providing better ways to prevent money-laundering threats is the main focus of the training event. The organisation was determined to make gambling a safer industry despite being evaluated as a low-risk sector by the UK’s National Risk Assessment.
The event also had speeches presented by the UK Financial Intelligence Unit and KPMG, presenting guidelines for achieving higher quality SARs as well as providing a tutorial on building a culture of compliance.
The reason why money laundering has been one of the focal points of recent UKGC regulations is the number of failings in meeting anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility requirements. Prominent gambling companies like 888, BetVictor, and Genesis Global are some of the operators that have been recently penalized by the Commission due to similar failing in following through with AML and social responsibility guidelines.
PlayOJO Hot and Cold Ad Gets Banned by ASA Due to Misleading Text
In September 2021, the PlayOJO brand launched ads that were published on its official website, a blog post, as well as broadcasted on TV. The three ads were all presenting a new “Hot or Cold” feature that allows players to view which games have recently paid out and which ones have not awarded a win for a while.
The wording of the ads, however, seemed concerning, raising a couple of complaints. The ASA determined that PlayOJO’s advertisements were using a “misleading” text as they were implying that the Hot or Cold feature could hint at the games that can guarantee success. Such suggestions could falsely cause different types of harm to players.
There was also a complaint about the content of the advertisements as they were taking advantage of traditions or beliefs related to luck in gambling. The TV ad included a tarot card reader which was the reason why some believed the company was exploiting the beliefs of some players.
SkillOnNet, which is the company that launched the Hot and Cold feature used by PlayOJO, ensured that this option simply was displaying the amount each game has paid recently. The feature would also show the games that have not paid any wins for a while, with these results being based on algorithms that were constantly updated every five minutes. The company claimed that the feature was similar to the one used in brick-and-mortar casinos at roulette tables, showing players the winning numbers of recent spins.
The TV ad was also approved by Clearcast, which also commented on the complaints about the controversial tarot reader image. The organisation said that it believed that viewers would have no issue getting the context of using a tarot card reader in the ad as a way to promote the Hot and Cold feature of PlayOJO. Clearcast also added that the ad did not imply that the fortune teller’s prediction had no effect on the player’s final decision.
ASA deemed the text used in the ads “misleading”, giving a false impression of the Hot and Cold feature predicting future success when betting on certain games. However, the authority rejected the complaint about the use of the Tarot in the TV ad, stating the ad did not take advantage of any cultural traditions or beliefs.