Exodus – High-rollers leave UK as AML measures bite

David Clifton is quoted in a Gambling Compliance article by Scott Longley, entitled “Exodus – High-rollers leave UK as AML measures bite” that commences as follows:

The downturn in high-end London casino play caused by more intrusive identity and source-of-funds checks is likely to be mirrored by a migration of UK online high-rollers towards offshore operators as the Gambling Commission’s enforcement drive intensifies.

Evidence of the effect of stricter enforcement on anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) requirements on more valuable punters is already evident in the UK land-based casino sector.

According to the latest statistics from the Gambling Commission, high-end London casino table game drop fell 28 percent for the year to January 2019, from £2.46bn to £1.176bn, while total win was down 43 percent to £147m.

In the article (that can be downloaded below), David comments that: “the loss of UK high-rollers could be the by-product of the last four years’ regulatory crackdown by the Gambling Commission in pursuit of its stated ambition to be the ‘most respected gambling regulator in the world’”.

In relation to issues raised in the article, David would add that:

  • We know from last year’s Enforcement Report that the Gambling Commission took enforcement measures against a total of 158 unlicensed remote gambling operators targeting UK custom in the period 2015 – 2017 and I imagine that this year’s Report will show no slowing down of such enforcement activity.
  • The key issue is when, if at all, and by what process, will the Commission adjudge that its licence-holders have achieved the level of regulatory standards that it deems acceptable?  I suspect then, and only then, will it start to think in terms of abiding by the Hampton Report principle that “regulators should recognise that a key element of their activity will be to allow, or even encourage, economic progress and only to intervene when there is a clear case for protection”.