The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is constantly working on regulating the gambling industry and preventing any potential harm to vulnerable individuals. This is why, last week, the regulatory body imposed several sanctions on both land-based and online casino operators. The penalties came as a result of the two companies failing to abide by the regulations laid by the Commission and conduct fair and safe gambling.
Last week, it was announced that VGC Leeds Limited will have to pay a fine as it was reported that the company failed to meet the social responsibility and anti-money laundering conditions of the UK Gambling Commission. Meanwhile, the regulator also suspended the licence of BGO Entertainment Limited after a review revealed the operator did not follow through with the conditions of its licence.
UKGC Fines Land-Based Casino Due to Operational Failings
The UKGC imposed a £450,000 fine on VGC Leeds Limited (t/a Victoria Gate Casino) which has obtained a non-remote casino and ancillary remote casino licences from the UK regulatory body. The reason why the Commission fined the operator was the result of an investigation carried out on 10 customers. The review of the casino company was prompted as there were certain concerns about the operator’s compliance assessment around the period of July 2019.
The review revealed failings in implementing the proper social responsibility and anti-money laundering policies. At the end of October 2019, the UKGC warned VGC that it will conduct a review of its operation. The investigation unveiled operational failings which were in breach of VGC’s licence.
VGC admitted to its failings in implementing the right anti-money laundering and social responsibility measures in its operations. The company was very cooperative during the Commission’s investigation and accepted that, between January 2017 and July 2019, it did not act in accordance with the terms and conditions of its licence.
The regulator imposed a £241,000 fine that VGC will need to pay as compensation for the gain of the company that came as a result of its operational failings. In addition to that, VGC will pay £209,000 instead of other financial penalties and will also cover the UKGC’s costs amounting to £21,578.17.
Some of the social responsibility failings detected by the Commission include a VGC customer suffering total losses of £275,000 over a period of 22 months before the operator requested evidence of source of funds. When providing the required source of funds documents, it was established that the customer’s income of £217,391 was not enough to support his gambling losses. Despite that, and several other factors proving the customer was not eligible to make such big wagers, VGC failed to take the actions required by its operating licence.
Another example of social responsibility failings is a customer with accumulated losses of £93,294 over a period of 16 months. The same casino user was contacted by customer support numerous times but all of the interactions were labelled as inciting “no concern”. That said, there were no records for the reasons why the customer was contacted so many times.
As for the anti-money laundering failings of VGC, the two aforementioned cases were also examples of not implementing the correct anti-money laundering policy. It took too long for the operator to request evidence for the source of funds in both of the cases. What is more, according to the documents provided by the two customers, VGC should have taken different measures instead of allowing the customers to continue gambling.
UKGC Suspends BGO Entertainment Limited’s Licence
The Commission imposed even harsher regulation on BGO Entertainment Limited by suspending the operator’s licence. One of the main reasons for the licence suspension was the company’s failings to protect its customers. The regulatory body’s decision came after a review on BGO Entertainment Limited.
The investigation was conducted under Section 116 of the 2005 Gambling Act, concluding that the operator’s licence will be suspended as it did not operate in accordance with conditions stated in its licence. BGO Entertainment Limited runs the brands BGO, Chili, Powerspins, and Vegasluck.
Last year, the Commission laid new restrictions on several operators, including BGO. This decision was based on a few cases proving social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings. Due to these findings, BGO was required to pay a settlement that amounted to £2 million.
While BGO Entertainment’s licence was suspended immediately after the announcement was made, UK customers are still allowed to access their accounts and request withdrawals of their available funds.