UKGC slaps Gamesys with £1.2 million fine for regulatory compliance failures.
Gamesys, a European developer of digital gaming software and content supplier of the immensely popular Jackpotjoy online gambling operation, is reeling this week from a proverbial bitch-slap by the UK Gambling Commission. Following a lengthy investigation, the UKGC found Gamesys guilty of multiple violations, worthy of a combined penalty of £1.2 million in fines.
As is often the case when the UKGC’s investigators come knocking, Gamesys conceded to the evaluation of wrong doing and coughed up the 7-figure payment without argument. In turn, the UKGC gave the company credit for making “proactive and timely improvements” to address the violations.
Gamesys Fined for Regulatory Compliance Failures
According to the UKGC’s media release on Wednesday, Gamesys was penalized for “failing to prevent gambling harm and breaching money laundering regulations.” The Commission’s probe was the result of a police investigation that found three members of Jackpotjoy were wagering at the online casino with stolen funds.
Gamesys was found guilty of failing to uphold its end of the obligatory social responsibility bargain. UKGC licensees are required to monitor customer behavior and intervene whenever such behavior points to potential problem gambling. The UKGC investigation revealed that the three players in question were clearly displaying at-risk behavior that went unchecked by Gamesys.
Furthermore, the company was found guilty of violating the Commission’s anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Especially where larger sums of money are concerned, licensed operators are required to verify a player’s source of funds. Had Gamesys validated the financial resources of these players, it could have unraveled the mystery and put a stop to their criminal activities far sooner – hence the regulatory demand for intervention and source determination.
As part of the settlement, Gamesys has been ordered to pay a financial penalty of £690,000 to the UKGC, which will help fund the country’s recently launched National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. Gamesys will also return £460,472, the amount stolen and then wagered through their iGaming systems, to the rightful owners. Finally, Gamesys is also responsible for reimbursing the UKGC for the cost of its investigation.
No More Slaps on the Hand from UKGC
The UKGC gave up wrist-slapping long ago. The new policy is to slap ’em hard and leave a mark! Gamesys and others who’ve felt their regulatory wrath won’t recover anytime soon, but that’s the whole point. The hope is that UK-licensed online gambling operators will heed the warnings and come under compliance before an investigation is needed.
UKGC Executive Director Richard Watson explains: “It is vital that operators understand their customers – track their online gambling and step in quickly when they suspect someone is suffering from gambling harm. These key steps and processes ensure they meet both their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations for all customers.”
Watson goes on to highlight the failings and unfortunate result of the London-based software firm’s actions. “Gamesys’ approach resulted in a variety of failings and saw stolen money flowing through the business – with customers being put at risk of gambling related harm.”
The UKGC’s executive summary of the investigation confirms that Gamesys “acknowledged its shortcomings during the period of the customers spend and accepts that it failed to act in accordance,” and that the company made “proactive and timely improvements…to address the issues identified”.