The UK Gambling Commission penalised igaming operator In Touch Games (ITG) £6.1 million (€6.9 million/$7.5 million) for a variety of social responsibility and money laundering violations.
ITG, which runs 11 websites in the UK, including Bonusboss.co.uk, Drslot.co.uk, Cashmo.co.uk, and Slotfactory.co.uk, failed a compliance review in March 2022, prompting the Commission to take action.
Among the regulator's findings of social responsibility violations was ITG's failure to communicate with a customer until seven weeks after being marked for interaction for abnormal play patterns and extended periods of play.
ITG was also discovered to have accepted a customer's word that they made £6,000 per month without confirming this information after the player's account was flagged owing to excessive consumer spending and gaming during unsociable hours.
The Commission stated that ITG failed to adequately account for the risk of a customer being a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, having links to high-risk jurisdictions, or being a politically exposed person (PEP), family member of a PEP, or known close associates of a PEP, within its money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment.
The regulator also pointed out that ITG did not have policies, processes, or controls in place to address major risk factors, nor did the operator take the Commission's money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment or guidelines into account.
ITG also failed to ensure that its anti-money laundering policies, processes, and controls were effectively applied. ITG, for example, did not follow its own policy of requesting source of funds information from customers who deposited and lost £10,000 in a 12-month period.
In terms of specific violations, the Commission stated that ITG violated Licence requirement 12.1.1 paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 on anti-money laundering and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist funding.
ITG was also found in violation of SRCP 3.4.1 Customer Interaction - paragraphs 1b, 1c, and 2. Failure to comply with an SRCP, according to the regulator, is a violation of a licencing condition under section 82(1) of the Gambling Act 2005.
As a result, the Commission decided to levy a £6.1m pecuniary penalty under Section 121(1) of the Act.
This was ITG's third regulatory action; in 2019, the operator paid a £2.2m settlement for regulatory errors, and in 2021, it received a £3.4m fine and a warning for potential failures.
“Considering this operator’s history of failings, we expected to see significant improvement when we carried out our planned compliance assessment,” the Commission’s executive director of operations Kay Roberts said. “Disappointingly, although many improvements had been made, there was still more to do.
“This £6.1m fine shows that we will take escalating enforcement action where failures are repeated, and all licensees should be acutely aware of this.”
By fLEXI tEAM