The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed out a combined penalty of £657,000 to two online gambling businesses due to social responsibility and AML shortcomings.
Progress Play was charged £175,718 whilst Jumpman Gaming will pay £500,000, with the cash from both penalties directed towards the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
A UKGC investigation found ‘repeated breaches of licence conditions’ by Progress due to the absence of internal controls and procedures, which the licensee ‘should have been aware of’.
The evaluation of Jumpman’s AML and social responsibility actions showed a ‘clear impact on first and third licensing objectives’ due to systemic breaches and non-compliance incidents.
In both cases, the Commission noted that similar cases have been observed recently – UKGC CEO, Andrew Rhodes, highlighted the consistency of AML and social responsibility weaknesses in the regulator’s Compliance and Enforcement Report.
Moving forward, the UKGC asserted that there were ‘lessons to be learned for the industry’ and a need to ‘encourage compliance among other operators’, encouraging firms to review their social responsibility and AML procedures and reviews and customer risk profiles, among other areas.
Leanne Oxley, UKGC Director of Enforcement and Intelligence, said: “We will always clamp down on operators who fail in their obligations to keep gambling safe and crime-free.
“We encourage other operators to consider the failings identified in these cases carefully, and consider what improvements they can make in their own businesses.”
In the case of Jumpman, there were three separate incidents in which customers lost sums of £15,000, £20,000 and £19,000 over periods of a month, six weeks and four months respectively, without ‘sufficient evidence’ gathered to determine affordability.
The two businesses operate a large suite of sites offering igaming products including casino, bingo and slots. Cyprus-based Progress has a total online holding of 201 websites, while Guernsey-headquartered Jumpman holds 243 sites.
In both cases, the UKGC did acknowledge mitigating circumstances affecting the financial penalties handed out to the firms, with each company cooperating with the regulatory investigation and making no efforts to conceal the breaches.
Additionally, Progress and Jumpman initiated action plans in order to address the breaches and prevent recurrence, alongside improvements made to internal AML and safer gambling policies and procedures.