Lessons to be learned from failures at GalaCoral Group

As part of a regulatory settlement concluding a Gambling Commission investigation, GalaCoral Group Limited has agreed to forfeit more than £846,000 and to take steps to improve its anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes.

The investigation related to the way two companies within the GalaCoral Group (Coral Racing Limited and Gala Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited) handled their relationship with a man who was jailed for three years after he admitted stealing £800,000 from a vulnerable adult.

The man had been a retail customer of GalaCoral Group since 2012 and was an online customer between January 2014 and January 2015.

The Commission is advising all operators to read the public statement arising from this case Failures in anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls public statement (that can also be downloaded below) for further details and lessons to be learned.

It suggest that operators should particularly consider the following questions:

  • Are you confident that you are utilising all of the account information you hold on customers when assessing the risk they pose?
  • Are you scrutinising the due diligence information you collect from customers sufficiently to ensure that the lifestyle of the customer matches their level of spending?
  • When you identify a customer of concern are you escalating your concerns appropriately?
  • With regard to remote customers, are you conducting appropriate levels of ongoing monitoring in accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007?
  • Can you demonstrate that the policies and procedures in place for obtaining information about customers’ sources of funds are appropriately risk-based and are being implemented effectively?

Richard Watson, Programme Director at the Commission, is quoted as saying: “We expect the industry will learn the lessons from this case, as it is their responsibility to keep crime out of gambling and protect vulnerable people from harm. We know that GalaCoral have reflected heavily on this case and have assured us of actions they have taken to address the failings. Operators must proactively monitor customers to keep gambling safe and free from crime”.