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Simon Deloit June 27, 2019 3 min read
UKGC Fines Casinos £19.6m, That’s Not Enough to Protect Customers
The UKGC has slapped operators with £19.6 million worth of penalties in 2018-2019 over failure to meet customer protection practices.
The UKGC Doesn’t See Improvement in Customer Protection Practices
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) continues to warn operators over customer safety misconduct. The nation’s watchdog has slapped operators with £19.6 million in penalties between 2018 and 2019, but brands have continued to uphold practices that the regulator deems as irresponsible.
The Commission is not going to relent its approach to monitoring and regulating iGaming companies in the country and a new Raising Standards for Consumers Enforcement Report is indicative of this intent.
Penalties in the form of hefty fines haven’t been the sole measure undertaken by the Commission The regulator also stripped several individuals of their licenses to work in the industry. Over 160 regulatory and criminal investigations were launched in 2018 alone and over 2,000 intelligence reports have been compiled.
Efforts Must Be Stepped Up, UKGC Believes
There is a whole lot more that needs to be done. Even though operators have been hit with one penalty after another, that just highlighted the problem rather than the solution. This opinion is shred by UKGC Head Neil McArthur who firmly believes that more efforts need to be dedicated to ensure customer protection. Here is what Mr. McArthur had to say:
During 2018-19, we have seen progress in some areas, which we welcome and want to build on, but there have still been too many occasions where we have had to step in with tough action to protect consumers and the wider public.
He also reminded that casinos weren’t the sole targets in the UKGC’s push against operator misconduct. Senior casino staff is now also the subject of investigations and whether an individual in power has knowingly and intentionally acted against the consumer’s interest.
The approach that the UKGC uses today is much more encompassing and it includes different measures. Going after managers and personnel is a clever way to tighten the noose and force companies’ hands to act in the interest of the player.
Meanwhile, gambling clinics in England have been expanding as part of a NHS initiative, with 12 new properties scheduled to open in the foreseeable future.
A Better Job of Protecting Money: KYC & AML Measures
The UKGC didn’t fail to highlight another important drawback in the work of casinos using the current model – tracking illicit funds linked to money-laundering schemes and terrorist organizations.
The issue here is money as professional due diligence reports cost anything between £250 and £1,000 per report, opening quite a bit of work for companies.
Another area of concern is how casinos and brands promote their products. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been collaborating with the UKGC to ensure that operators are meeting the standards.
However, unauthorized campaigns have continued to appear online and promote products that haven’t been launched by a license holding a verifiable UKGC license.
Mr. McArthur has reminded that the main priority of casinos should be to continually seek and put player “safety and enjoyment” first.