UKGC charges LeoVegas £1.2m along with AML and social responsibility audit

Social responsibility and anti-money laundering shortcomings have resulted in LeoVegas facing a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) penalty of £1.2m.

The Swedish company – listed on the Stockholm stock exchange and active in the UK via its LeoVegas, Bet UK, PInk Casino, 21.co.uk and Slot Boss brands – has received an official warning and must undergo an audit. 

In its assessment, the Commission asserted that LeoVegas had ‘not sufficiently taken into account the Commission’s 2019 guidance on customer interaction’, nor had it enforced its policy of interacting with customers demonstrating harmful gambling behaviour. 

Leanne Oxley, UKGC Director of Enforcement and Intelligence, 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.”

On AML, LeoVegas had relied too heavily on ineffective threshold triggers and inadequate information regarding customer append amounts based on income or wealth, or any other risk factor.

Additionally, financial triggers were criticised as being too high and ‘unrealistic’ for effective risk management. Controls were also condemned for allowing “significant levels of gambling spend to take place within a short space of time”.

Meanwhile, the company’s social responsibility provisions were also judged as inadequate, such as spend triggers being set higher than customer spend and implementing a 45-minute cool-off period after six hours of play, without explaining the appropriateness of either action.

Harmful indicators ignored included denied deposits, cancelled withdrawals, long gameplay sessions, and gambling sessions occurring late at night or early in the morning.

Moving forward, LeoVegas must complete a UKGC audit to ensure AML and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls are being enforced effectively. 

The penalty and audit comes just one month after a preliminary investigation into LeoVegas was launched in its native Sweden by the Ekobrottsmyndigheten Economic Crime Authority, due to potential insider trading.

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