Following a recent investigation, 10Bet has been slapped with a £620,000 fine for failing to adhere to the existing anti-money laundering policies and social responsibility. 10Bet is a popular betting site operated by Blue Star Planet, a Malta-based gambling company.
The investigation was conducted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the country’s gambling regulatory body. It has a broad spectrum of responsibilities, and in addition to regulating the lucrative industry, it’s also responsible for issuing fines on companies that don’t comply with the new rules. The British gambling watchdog also revealed the complete details of the case in accordance with the settlement the two sides reached.
Why was UKGC Fined 10Bet?
Blue Star Planet was issued a six-figure fine after an investigation revealed the operator had violated several sections of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) between November 2019 and June 2021. All companies holding a UKGC license must abide by this set of rules. We should point out that the UKGC regularly adds new ones, with the latest regulatory update carried out in September 2022.
According to the UKGC, Blue Star Planet failed to implement AML policies, procedures and controls. At the same time, the inquiry showed inadequacy concerning responsible gambling practices and flaws in its reporting system.
Serious AML Breaches
Regarding specific breaches, the UKGC identified some of them in reference to paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Blue Star Planet’s licence condition 12.1.1. Under the provisions of these paragraphs, the operator had to comply with the policies aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. Blue Star Planet’s assessment was deemed inadequate as it completely overlooked certain risk factors, allowing players to make large deposits before proper risk profiling could be carried out. In some cases, players didn’t have to provide a source of funds until much later.
The investigation revealed another breach of licence condition 8.1.1, as Blue Star Planet failed to display certain information on every screen of the 10Bet website. This information includes a link to the licensee’s status on the UKGC site, which didn’t work.
Social Responsibility was Also Overlooked
The UKGC revealed that Blue Star Planet breached paragraphs 1b, 1c, and 2 of the Social Responsibility Code Provision (SRCP). Also, the regulator said the company didn’t appoint compliance staff to review safer gambling alerts overnight. Instead, these were reviewed manually on the following day. Since the operator failed to implement high-velocity risk alerts, some players could spend money at high velocity before any interference from the operator.
Also, the existing financial risk alerts couldn’t provide adequate consideration or identify customers as earliest as possible. According to the regulation, Blue Star Planet failed to identify and interact with players who showed signs of problematic gambling, at least not as quickly as it should.
Before making the final decision on the case, the UKGC considered several aggravating factors. The nature of the breaches has been deemed severe, strongly impacting the licensing objectives. The regulator pointed out the rules were designed to encourage compliance among other operators in the British market. The UKGC also acknowledged Blue Star Planet’s willingness to recognise these failures and do its best to remedy breaches.
What is the UKGC’s Stand on Violations?
Founded in 2007, the UKGC is responsible for regulating gambling and supervising the application of law in the United Kingdom. It also issues licences to gambling operators, can impose fines and revoke licences and has the authority to investigate and prosecute illegal gambling. The regulator also provides advisory services for national and local governments on any issue related to gambling.
Over the past couple of years, the UKGC has imposed numerous restrictions on slots. The restrictions include banning the Auto Play feature and any sounds and imagery that may give the illusion of a win. Also, the Gamble option was removed from slots in the UK while limiting the speed of the reels to 2.5 seconds. These changes ultimately affected the overall playing experience, with many Brits resorting to reliable and trustworthy NonGamstopBetSites websites.
As mentioned, the UKGC ensures that its licensees comply with the regulatory changes and adhere to the law. One of the means to do so is by imposing fines and penalties on operators that violate the existing rules. Although these fines can be harsh, their main goal is to prevent any future breaches, and on many occasions, they have improved the product.
888 has paid several fines in recent years, with the largest being a staggering £9.4 million penalty issued in March 2022. The same year, the UGKC investigation revealed AML irregularities at online and land-based businesses operated by Entain, resulting in a massive £17 million fine. In January 2023, Touch Games was slapped with a £6.1 million penalty, marking the third time the operator has been the subject of action by the gambling regulator.
What Was 10Bet’s Settlement?
Following the thorough investigation conducted by the UKGC, the regulator and the operator agreed on a settlement that included a financial fine that would be directed to socially responsible causes. In addition to the hefty fine, the settlement comes with a payment towards the regulator’s investigation costs. Also, the UKGC and 10Bet agreed that all facts regarding the case would be made available.
Based on the UKGC AML policy, several factors were taken into consideration when ruling the case. They range from the seriousness of the breaches, and their overall impact, to the extent of the measures taken to correct the operator’s failings. The admittance of failings and subsequent cooperation was also taken into account. In total, the 10Bet betting site will pay a fine of £620,000, along with an extra £3,571.25, to cover the costs of the UKGC investigation.
To prevent any future breaches, 10Bet will have to employ additional compliance staff, whose job will be to monitor safer gambling alerts overnight. Also, it should implement high-velocity risk alerts to identify the site’s customers at the earliest opportunity and prevent spending significant sums of money in short periods. The operator must act quickly enough to interact with customers showing signs of problematic gambling.
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