Five Casinos Could Lose Their Licences Following UKGC’s Money Laundering Investigation

UKGC Chief Executive Sarah Harrison.

UKGC Chief Executive Sarah Harrison is leading an investigation into five UK operators for anti-money laundering issues. (Image: YouTube/Gambling Commission)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is considering the licences of five operators after a thematic review revealed serious failures in tackling money laundering.

As part of its ongoing mission to run the tightest iGaming ship in the world, the UKGC has written to every licence holder to reiterate its policies regarding anti-money laundering and social responsibility.

Dated January 4, the letter points to licencing condition 12.1 which focuses on the processing of illegal funds.

Additionally, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Sarah Harrison has stressed the need for operators to carry out proper due diligence on customers.

“It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously,” Harrison said in a press statement.

Investigation Reveals Poor Protection

The letter is a result of a 2017 review into the ways operators are working to prevent customers from using their online accounts for illicit activities. Across the board, the UKGC saw room for improvements but specifically identified 17 operators with standards well below expectations.

In light of the findings, the 17 sub-standard casinos are now being investigated further, while five of those face the possibility of losing their licences.

At this stage, the UKGC hasn’t named the operators in the firing line, but Harrison has said that her organisation will take decisive action whenever necessary.

“The action we are taking to examine online casino operators’ compliance with money laundering and customer interaction requirements is just one example of how we will be relentless in turning that vision into reality,” Harrison went on to say.

UKGC Continues to Raise the Bar

The UK has quickly become a leading light when it comes to iGaming regulation. Since taking charge of the industry in November 2014, the UKGC has implemented a number of stringent policies in a bid to keep consumers safe.

In addition to smaller operators losing their licences, big brand names such as 888, BGO and Lottoland have all had to pay hefty fines. Of the trio named, 888 was hit the hardest after being forced to pay £7.8 million for failing to protect vulnerable customers.

With 2018 barley a week old, the latest move by the UKGC is a clear statement of intent. By taking action early, the regulator not only hopes to weed out any weak links, but raise the bar with regards to player protection.

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