Major crackdown on online casinos’ AML and social responsibility failings

The Gambling Commission has sent a letter (that can be downloaded below) to all online casino operators raising concerns about the sector’s approach to anti-money laundering (“AML”) and social responsibility (“SR”) and setting out the actions the remote casino sector is required to take with immediate effect. Due to the serious nature of its findings, the Commission has already begun investigations into 17 online operators, and is considering whether five of these require a licence review.

This development comes as little surprise to us, having recently advised a number of operators who have been the subject of the Commission’s thematic review of the sector to consider how well operators are meeting their current AML and SR obligations.

This area of work has become a central focus of our expertise in the last three years, during which time we have (a) successfully represented clients who have been the subject of Gambling Commission investigations, (b) conducted independent reviews of operators’ AML and associated SR controls, (c) worked with one of the industry’s trade bodies in drafting AML Best Practice Guidelines for the sector in question and (d) spoken on these subjects at numerous gambling industry conferences. We have also written articles for various industry journals (all of which are posted on this website), warning operators of the Commission’s increasing focus on ensuring that operators are effectively implementing AML processes and meeting their SR obligations.

Any recipients of the Gambling Commission’s letter who require assistance in raising their standards in the above respects are advised to:

  1. contact us immediately – [email protected] – and
  2. register for the forthcoming KnowNow “Keeping Crime out of Gambling” and “Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators” conferences taking place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London on 17th and 18th January, at which David Clifton is moderating a panel session. He will be present on both days and will be very pleased to meet with any affected operators to discuss how we are able to help.

Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, has made the position abundantly clear in today’s website posting on the Commission’s website, saying:

  • “It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously. The Gambling Commission’s new strategy sets out our vision for a fairer and safer gambling market. 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.”
  • “As the online sector continues to grow, and now accounts for a third of the British gambling market, it is right that we maintain a sharp focus on online gambling. That is why in addition to our work on compliance among online casino operators, we have also been conducting a wider ranging review of online gambling looking at how the market has evolved and to identify where further action can be taken to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers.”