UKGC Investigating 17 Online Gambling Operators

Is regulated online casino betting and poker not so effective in the UK?

UK Online Gambling Regulation PraisedFor the last three years, the UK has received boundless praise for its open, transparent regulatory approach towards online gambling. Other governments have sought to mimic their blueprint. International lobbyists have extolled their success in an effort to convince political figureheads to follow in their footsteps.

But just how successful has it really been?

In late 2014, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) began enforcing a new regulatory scheme for online gambling operators. All who intend to accept players for the UK must apply for and receive a licence to do so from the UKGC. All operators who receive such a licence must abide by the strict regulatory guidelines of the UKGC.

In theory, it was a great plan. In terms of generating government revenue and taxes, it was wonderful. But getting those operators to comply with the regulatory guidelines? Well, that part doesn’t seem to be going so well.

17 Online Casino Betting and Poker Sites Under Investigation

UK Online Casino Betting and Poker Sites receive Warning from UKGCOn January 4, 2018, not even a week into the new year, the UKGC sent out this admonitory letter to the operators of 17 online gaming websites. Its foreboding title reads, ‘Customer interaction and anti-money laundering – Compliance assessment activity‘.

The UKGC recently completed its assessment of regulatory compliance, focusing on “remote casino operators’ approach to anti-money laundering and customer interaction”. In that assessment, 17 operators were lacking in their obligations to “address the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing”. Furthermore, they were advised of “action that needs to be taken in respect to social responsibility”.

The letter goes on to warn its recipients:

Due to the serious nature of the assessment findings, we have already started investigations into 17 remote operators and are keeping under consideration whether it is necessary to commence a licence review of five operators under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) with a view to exercising our regulatory powers under section 117 of the Act.”

According to the Gambling Act, Section 117, should an operator fail to meet compliance requirements, the UKGC is able to take several courses of action. If lenient, an operator might be given a warning, or have additional conditions attached to its licence. In severe cases, the UKGC has the right to suspend or revoke a licence, and/or invoke a penalty fee.

Doesn’t Bode Well for Canada Online Gambling Regulation

Time and again, it’s been said that Canada’s vast online gambling market would be better managed by opening its doors to outside competition. Offering licences to offshore operators – mimicking the regulatory regime of the UK – would prevent the outflow of money and generate much needed revenue.

The major argument of provincial governments, however, has been one of promoting social responsibility. Regulators in BC, Ontario, Quebec – they feel they can protect their consumers better on their own. As for money laundering, they’ve had a hard enough time preventing millions of dollars siphoning illegally through their casinos already.

The UK must take swift and heavy action against licence holders who aren’t meeting their obligations to prevent money laundering and promote social responsibility. Unless they can turn the situation around, there’s little hope that Canada will follow in its footsteps to regulate and licence international online casino, betting and poker operators.9999

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