888’s UK Real Money Gambling division under UKGC Review

RealMoey Gambling Firms Fear UKGC ReviewDid you ever receive a notice from the tax office that you’re being audited? If so, it probably made you very nervous. If the auditors come knocking, there’s usually cause to do so, and you’ll probably pay a nice hefty fee before it’s all over. That’s surely how the heads of real money gambling firm 888 are feeling right about now.

888 isn’t being audited, but there’s a very similar process going on at the moment. And based on past history, odds are the company will end up owing at least 6-figures to regulators in the Unite Kingdom before all is said and done.

A concise statement was released this morning in which 888 confirmed that its UK-based real money gambling operations are currently under the microscope of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The Commission is reviewing the services of 888 to ensure full compliance with regulatory laws, particularly in terms of social responsibility.

UKGC Social Responsibility Policies

Real money gambling firms licenced in the UK are required to maintain a voluntary self-exclusion program for all customers. These betting firms must take appropriate measures to prevent customers who’ve opted-in to the self-exclusion program from accessing their services.

They must also incorporate sufficient monitoring services to identify users who are wagering in excessive amounts, helping to identify potential problem gamblers and promote social responsibility.

Whether 888 has successfully done so or not is yet to be seen. However, the mere fact that the UKGC is investigating the matter indicates the company’s probable failure to do so, and it’s clearly had an impact on their stock market value.

Following confirmation of the UKGC’s review early this morning, shares in 888 plummeted 10% on the London Stock Exchange. The stock is trying to rally back, down -6.96% at time of writing.

LSE 888 May 15

Fines for Real Money Gambling Ops

What makes shareholders so nervous is the UKGC’s track record for investigating real money gambling licencees, and the fact that no operator yet has survived a review without being issued a fine.

Since the UK updated its licencing policies in late 2014, three companies have endured the Commission’s microscope – Paddy Power Betfair, Gala Coral Group and Betfred.

In February of 2016, Paddy Power Betfair was found to be in violation of the UKGC’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies. The company was fined £280,000 and ordered to update their systems to comply with regulations.

In April of 2016, Gala Coral Group was fined £846,000, also for breaching the UKGC’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility mandates. Gala’s settlement was much higher, because it equaled the amount one of their retail and online customers had stolen from a “vulnerable adult” to gamble with the company. Gala’s fine was used to compensate the victim.

In June of 2016, Betfred underwent a review, was found to be in violation of the same policies, and was punished with a similar fine of £800,000.

Confirmation Notice from 888

888’s confirmation of the UKGC’s review came as a brief statement promising the real money gambling licensee’s full cooperation with the investigation.

The company is dedicated to providing players with a responsible as well as enjoyable gaming experience and the licensee will be proactively engaged in a cooperative and collaborative manner with the UKGC throughout this review.

The company will make a further announcement as and when appropriate.”

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