LeoVegas hit with £1.3m Gambling Commission fine for AML and responsibility failures

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Stockholm-listed LeoVegas has been ordered to pay a £1.3m penalty to the Gambling Commission for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

In addition to its flagship leovegas.com brand, the operator also runs the slotboss.co.uk, pinkcasino.co.uk, betuk.com and 21.co.uk brands in the British market.

As well as being ordered to pay the £1.3m fine, LeoVegas will receive an official warning from the Gambling Commission and undergo an audit to ensure it is effectively implementing its AML and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls, the regulator said.

The social responsibility failures identified include setting spend triggers for Safer Gambling Team customer reviews significantly higher than the average customer’s spend – without any explanation for why it was appropriate to set triggers at that level.

Another failure identified was setting six hours of play as the point at which customers had to take a 45-minute cooling off period – again without explanation for why six hours is considered the point at which gambling related harm may occur.

The operator also failed to act on its own policy of interacting with customers exhibiting indicators of harm. Such indicators include denied deposits, cancelled withdrawals and long gameplay sessions, as well as late night and early morning play.

Gambling Commission director of enforcement and intelligence Leanne Oxley: “We identified this through focused compliance activity and we will continue to take action against other operators if they do not learn the lessons our enforcement work is providing.”

Failures relating to anti-money laundering requirements included financial triggers for AML reviews being set too high, and relying too heavily on ineffective threshold triggers and inadequate information regarding how much customers should be able to spend based on income and other risk factors.

Further, the Gambling Commission found that inappropriate controls allowed significant levels of gambling spend to take place in a short space of time, without prior knowledge of customers’ financial situations.

Leanne Oxley, director of enforcement and intelligence for the Gambling Commission, said: “We identified this through focused compliance activity and we will continue to take action against other operators if they do not learn the lessons our enforcement work is providing.

“This case is a further example of operators failing to protect customers and failing to be alive to money laundering risks within their business.”

LeoVegas, meanwhile, is confident it can put the identified failures behind it and move forward in the UK market with full compliance.

The operator’s director of communications and public affairs, Daniel Valiollahi, told iGaming NEXT: “LeoVegas Group has already fundamentally reworked and strengthened internal routines and processes prior to today’s outcome.

LeoVegas director of communications and public affairs, Daniel Valiollahi: “Since 2019, our internal routines and processes have been fundamentally reworked and strengthened, and the policy for the operational work linked to money laundering has been updated along with the general risk assessment.”

“The UKGC compliance assessment was undertaken for the period October 2019 – October 2020. Since 2019, our internal routines and processes have been fundamentally reworked and strengthened, and the policy for the operational work linked to money laundering has been updated along with the general risk assessment.

“Working on improving our compliance is something that we do on a continuous basis and is work that can never be fully complete. We are constantly reviewing our routines and procedures to meet regulatory requirements in the best possible way.”

Improvements made to safer gambling measures by the operator in recent years include the introduction of a tool to create personalised deposit limits and enhanced individual affordability checks, and strengthening of its Safer Gambling offering with the development of AI-driven automated on-site interactions.

True to its word, the Gambling Commission has not been shy when it comes to operator penalties this year.

In March, the regulator ordered 888 to pay £9.4m – one of the largest fines issued by the Commission to date – for social responsibility and AML failures. 

The same month, National Lottery operator Camelot was ordered to pay £3m for failures relating to its mobile app, while Sky Betting and Gaming was hit with a £1.2m fine for marketing breaches relating to its Sky Vegas brand.

In July, the regulator went on to suspend the licence of German-based operator bet-at-home.com, as it underwent an investigation into its AML and social responsibility procedures.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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