TonyBet hit with £442,750 penalty in latest Gambling Commission crackdown

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The Gambling Commission has imposed a £442,750 penalty on online betting operator TonyBet for social responsibility, AML and transparency failings.

In addition to the penalty, TonyBet will have to undergo a third-party audit to assess whether it is effectively implementing its AML and social responsibility requirements.

The Gambling Commission said social responsibility failures included failing to identify and interact with customers who may be at risk of gambling-related harm.

AML breaches included failing to conduct adequate risk assessments of the business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing, and failing to ensure that appropriate policies, procedures and controls were in place to prevent the same.

With regards to the Gambling Commission’s judgement on whether the operator had “fair and transparent terms”, several further failings were identified.

Gambling Commission executive director of operations Kay Roberts: “Not only does this case illustrate our drive to clamp down on anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, but also highlights action we will take against gambling businesses who fail to be fair and open with customers.”

Unfair terms found on TonyBet’s website included that the operator could request identification documents for “all withdrawals,” without having insisted on the same checks earlier in the business relationship. 

This, the Gambling Commission deemed, had the potential to hamper customer withdrawals but not deposits.

Winnings could also be confiscated from customers who failed to provide AML documentation within 30 days.

Finally, accounts with TonyBet were considered dormant after six months of inactivity, while Gambling Commission rules state that accounts can only be considered dormant after a full 12 months of inactivity.

Kay Roberts, executive director of operations at the Gambling Commission, said: “Not only does this case illustrate our drive to clamp down on anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, but also highlights action we will take against gambling businesses who fail to be fair and open with customers.”

TonyBet was established in 2011 and is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. The brand’s Lithuanian operations were acquired by Betsson in 2016.

The penalty was the second six-figure settlement enforced by the regulator in as many days. Yesterday (17 January), BetConstruct’s B2C brand VBET was slapped with a £337k regulatory settlement, once again for safer gambling and anti-money laundering breaches.

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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