The UK Gambling Commission has fined operator 888 UK Limited for money laundering and social responsibility failings.
According to the UK Gambling Commission, it launched an investigation into the company, which operates more than 70 websites, including 888 Casino, and found that it had failed to effectively identify players at risk of harm because their policies determined financial checks should be carried out only after a customer had deposited £40,000 or more.
In addition, the firm failed to carry out interaction with a customer who lost £37,000 in a six week period during the Covid-19 pandemic, failed to take into account the Commission’s formal guidance on customer interaction, and they gave a customer they knew was an NHS worker earning £1,400 a month a monthly deposit cap of £1,300.
The Commission also found that most interactions with customers consisted of an email detailing the gambling tools available, that the firm failed to ensure customers were limited to one account, and that there was no evidence that 888 UK Limited was placing restrictions on accounts where social responsibility concerns were raised.
Regarding money laundering failures, the operator implemented a policy in which customers were allowed to deposit up to £40,000 before a Source Of Funds check was required, accepted verbal assurances from customers on their Source Of Funds, allowed one customer to spend over £65,000 in five months without carrying out a Source Of Funds check, and more.
As a result, the UK Gambling Commission has fined 888 UK Limited a penalty of £9,409,756.48 under section 121 of the Gambling Act 2005. The firm has also received an official warning from the Commission and will undergo extensive independent auditing.
The fine is the second time the UK Gambling Commission has penalised the firm. Back in 2017, 888 UK Limited was hit with a £7.8 million fine for failing to protect vulnerable customers.
Andrew Rhodes, the Chief Executive at the UK Gambling Commission, said in a statement: “The circumstances of the last enforcement action may be different but both cases involve failing consumers – and this is something that is not acceptable.
“Today’s fine is one of our largest to date, and all should be clear that if there is a repeat of the failures at 888 then we have to seriously consider the suitability of the operator to uphold the licensing objectives and keep gambling safe and crime-free.”
He added: “Consumers in Britain deserve to know that when they gamble, they are participating in a leisure activity where operators play their part in keeping them safe and are carrying out checks to ensure money is crime-free.”
The news comes a week after the UK Gambling Commission fined operator BV Gaming Limited – who trades as BetVictor – £2 million for fairness, money laundering, and social responsibility failures. It also comes at a time for concern as the UK government continues its reviews of the Gambling Act 2005 while the industry warns the government of the dangers of the illegal online gambling market.