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UK online casinos face money laundering probe

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The Gambling Commission expressed “significant concerns” at the practices of UK online gambling operators

Online casino operators are failing to prevent money laundering and protect problem gamblers, the Gambling Commission has warned.

It has written to all 195 UK operators and warned them to review procedures.

Many were unable to spot signs of financial crime and compulsive gambling, it said.

It is investigating 17 companies, with five under licence review. If a company loses its licence, it would no longer be able to operate in the UK.

None of the operators under investigation has been named by the regulator.

‘Vital action’

A third of all gambling in the UK now takes place online, and the industry is worth billions of pounds.

But the commission is concerned that customers whose gambling is becoming compulsive are not being followed up.

It reviewed a large number of customer accounts and found “potential signs of problem gambling based on consumers’ gambling pattern and spend”, it said.

“In many cases, however, this behaviour did not trigger a customer interaction,” it said.

It also said that some staff had little idea of how to spot money laundering – or, in some cases, even what it was.

All companies should ensure staff are trained in the law, and they should all carry out risk assessments – such as monitoring and risk profiling of customers – it said.

The commission’s chief executive Sarah Harrison said the organisation was taking action to make the market “fairer and safer”.

She added: “It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling.”

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