William Hill’s Swedish troubles seem to have no end after another of the group’s subsidiaries is challenged to provide evidence of following compliance measures.
Proof of Residence Procedure
Evoke Gaming, part of William Hill’s Mr. Green subsidiary, was slapped last month with a SEK31.5 million ($3.62 million) fine by the Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) for failure to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) regulation and customer care duties. Now, it is being ordered to conduct a re-verification of some player accounts registered by its brands from January 2019 till July 2019.
Spelinspektionen ordered Evoke to submit a report by November 9, 2021, that will outline what measures it is going to implement to re-verify the customers who manually confirmed their credentials during the verification process in the first seven months since the iGaming regulation was brought into force by the new Gambling Act.
The dispute with the regulator arises around a procedure adopted by Evoke to allow some of its customers to manually confirm their details during the ID verification process, accepting copies of ID documents like driver’s licenses, passports, national ID cards and utility bills.
To comply with the Gambling Act, which entered into force on January 1, 2019, licensees must carry out thorough background checks on their customers to ensure there are permanent residents in the country. Spelinspektionen stated that, for the purposes of Section 1 of the Act, only an ID card issued by the Swedish Tax Agency should be accepted as proof of residence. However, Evoke reportedly didn’t fully comply with this requirement.
Documents in Changeable Format
As Evoke allowed customers to verify their identity and residence via documents that are in a format that can be changed without further investigation by the licensee, the regulator deemed the verification procedure for these customers insufficient.
According to Spelinspektionen, it is perfectly within the norm for a licensee to check its customers via the information provided by third parties like banks under anti-money laundering and terror financing laws. However, the investigation showed such a background check was carried out only in cases of high risk for money laundering.
Spelispektionen also stated that a common practice adopted by licensees is to carry out customer checks against the national self-exclusion gambling registry Spelpaus, which can also serve as a proof of residence in the country.
The regulator further reiterated the idea of the Gambling Act that gambling must be provided in a safe manner and under public control and one of the requirements for licensees is to ensure customer protection.
For its insufficient know-your-customer process (KYC), Spelinspektionen ordered Evoke to come up with measures that would ensure manually confirmed players during the disputed period are permanent residents of the country and to submit these measures to the regulator for assessment.