Being one of the biggest regulated gambling markets in the world, the UK strives to implement the right regulatory model to ensure a safe and fair gambling environment for operators and players. As the review of the 2005 Gambling Act is approaching its date, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is continuously taking regulatory actions against operators who are not compliant with the guidelines and rules imposed by the regulator.
Last week, the gambling operator Novibet gave up its UK licence, with the company informing its UK-based customers that it would immediately cease its operations on the British market. Meanwhile, the UKGC imposed a fine on another gambling business due to social responsibility and money laundering failings.
Novibet Leaves the UK Gambling Market
Last week, Novibet announced that it surrendered its UK licence and stopped its operations in the UK. The Greek company acquired its licence for real event betting and online casino services in 2014. After operating for a little over seven years, the operator informed its British customers that they would no longer be able to place wagers on Novibet’s website.
The surrender of the licence took effect immediately, with the operator ceasing its operations in the UK on 21 February. Prior to this date, the operator made sure to inform its British customers about the decision, asking them to withdraw any funds available in their accounts. Players were also directed to the customer support team of Novibet if they had any questions about the current situation.
Just as it has stipulated guidelines for operating in the UK market, the Gambling Commission has also set up rules for operators who are surrendering their UK licences. The regulatory body requires businesses to be transparent with their customers and make sure they have taken the proper measures to protect consumers if the company happens to leave the UK market.
According to the UKGC, operators who are surrendering their UK licences must notify their customers about the decision via different sorts of notices such as direct messages or social media posts. Operators are also required to provide enough contact options to customers who may have complaints about the operator ceasing its operations in the UK.
UKGC Takes Regulatory Measures Against BetVictor
In order to continue its work on ensuring a better-regulated gambling industry, last week, the UKGC imposed a fine on BV Gaming, t/a BetVictor. Following an investigation on the company’s operations, the regulator revealed failings related to social responsibility as well as anti-money laundering policies. As a result of the said investigation, BetVictor was required to pay £2 million.
The gaming operator runs the domains betvictor.com, betvictor.mobi, heartbingo.co.uk, bingo.co.uk as well as parimatch.co.uk. The amount of £2 million is required to be paid to the Commission as a financial settlement. The money from the settlement will be used to support the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. This is a three-year project that was launched with the intent to help the reduction of gambling-related harms among British players and bettors.
Leanne Oxley, Director of Enforcement for the UKGC, commented on the regulatory measure, saying that the main goal of the regulator is to ensure a fair, crime-free gambling industry in the UK but BetVictor was not compliant with the regulations that strive to achieve these objectives.
A compliance assessment of BetVictor’s operations was launched in March 2020 and it covered the period between 1 January 2019 and 12 March 2020. Among the failings revealed by the UKGC, some of the major missings include breach of the terms for fair and transparent practices as well as breach of licence conditions for prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
BetVictor also was not compliant with the licence conditions establishing the anti-money laundering measures foreign operators are required to take. The social responsibility code for customer interaction was also breached as well as other marketing requirements.
The settlement imposed by the UKGC involves a £352,000 divestment of GGY which was generated through the bad practices recorded during the said period. The company was also required to pay a financial penalty of £1,782,00 which, along with the aforementioned divestment, will go to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harm. A payment of £11,000 must also be done to the Commission as this was determined to be the cost of the investigation process. As a part of the regulatory settlement, BetVictor was required to make a public statement related to the case.