MrQ operator Lindar Media hit with £691k UKGC regulatory settlement
The UKGC began a regulatory review of the business following a compliance assessment conducted in September 2022.
The review found that between July 2021 and September 2022, Lindar failed to comply with several of its licence conditions related to AML procedures and consumer protection.
Failings included insufficient implementation of AML policies, procedures and controls, and deficiencies in the company’s responsible gambling practices.
For example, the UKGC determined that Lindar had failed to carry out an appropriate AML and terrorist financing assessment, and failed to recognise certain key risk factors among its customers.
Other weaknesses identified included the reporting of key events to the regulator, and that the company’s head of regulatory compliance also occupied other management posts within the business, without the UKGC’s approval.
Social responsibility failings
In addition, the operator failed to advertise its products in a socially responsible manner, and failed to make an annual contribution in support of research, prevention and treatment for those harmed by gambling.
Regarding its responsible gambling procedures, the UKGC said the triggers used by Lindar to identify customers potentially experiencing harm were not always effective, and for example allowed customers to deposit “at high velocity”.The business also did not have a process in place to identify in real time customers at risk of gambling-related harm, or implement early and quick interactions, the regulator added.
That left some customers able to lose up to or more than £10,000, with no controls to intervene in place until the money had been lost.
Further, the operator relied on County Court Judgements and bankruptcy data to identify affordability concerns, which may not always be effective.
When customers did have responsible gambling interactions with Lindar, the process in place did not consider the urgency of the matter, the regulator said.
Finally, the operator also failed to comply with UK advertising codes, as an advert for the MrQ brand posted by an agent, as well as cartoon imagery on its website not in a restricted gateway, were found to be of particular appeal to children.
Lindar Media response
In a statement published today (20 September), Lindar Media said none of the failings identified showed evidence of criminal spending within the company, or that there was any financial upside for the business as a result.
“My focus since 2022 has been centred around maturing the day-to-day operations through the development of the senior leadership team,” added Lindar Media CEO Savvas Fellas.
“We’ve implemented scalable processes that provide consistency as we grow and built technology-driven models that underpin compliance and safer gambling promises to our players.”
The failings identified by the UKGC also took place “during a period of exponential growth,” prior to the establishment of the company’s current core senior leadership team, Lindar said.
“Significant investments” have since been allocated in the areas of AML and safer gambling, it added, and the company “continues to work proactively with the Gambling Commission to ensure these oversights are not repeated.”