Genesis Global, an online casino operator, has been served a £3.8 million fine and must meet further licensing conditions after a UK Gambling Commission (IUKGC) investigation found “significant social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures”.
The Commission’s investigation into the company, which operates 14 casino sites, is long running, with the company first having its licence suspended in July 2020 for an interim period ‘due to a number of compliance issues.’
Although returning to operations three months later after regulatory enquiries revealed positive changes, the Commission continued its investigation of the operator, before reaching its decision to impose a fine, issue a warning and sanction a licence condition requiring further auditing.
Social responsibility failures saw Genesis fail to engage with a known NHS nurse on a £30,000 annual salary who spent £245,000 in three months or with another customer who lost £197,000 over six months before closing her account and then reopening another with a £200 deposit on the same day. Another customer who lost £234,000 in six weeks was also not interacted with.
With regards to AML, Genesis requested a source of funds only after a customer had spent £209,000 after assuming the individual in question was earning £111,000 due to stating his job as a ‘director’ of a London-based company – the company was actually dormant.
In a separate incident, a customer deposited £1,300,000 and lost £600,000 before carrying out sufficient source of funds checks and was allowed to continue despite bank statements proving their finances were ‘clearly not enough to support the level of gambling’.
Lastly, another player lost £107,000 over six months without any source of funds checks occuring, with Genesis relying on the customer’s statement that they were being financially supported by factory-owning parents, despite bank statements showing no source of income, only transactions with other gambling firms.
Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, said: “All gambling businesses should pay very close attention to this case. The Commission will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety and that extends to stopping a business from actually operating.
“Failing to follow rules aimed at keeping gambling safe and crime-free will never be a viable business option for gambling businesses in Britain.”
Using the case as an example, the UKGC has issued a warning to the UK betting and gaming industry that the regulator “will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety.”
This is the third instance of heavy sanctions handed out by the UKGC this month, shortly after the authority penalised Rank Digital Gaming and Annexio Limited with a combined fine of £1.3 million for multiple social responsibility failures.