U.K. GAMBLING COMMISSION PLANS STIFFER PROBLEM GAMBLING PENALTIES
New enforcement strategy on problem gambling and AML will be published this month.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the UK Gambling Commission plans to unveil new enforcement strategies on problem online gambling and money laundering prevention this month, laying down tougher penalties for operators who fail to tackle these issues.
The CEO of the Commission, Sarah Harrison, recently warned in an industry address that gambling firms can expect tougher policing to ensure they were not used for money laundering, claiming that recent cases had shown a “a lack of curiosity, and at worst, a leadership culture which puts commercial gain over compliance”.
She warned the Commission would abandon the “blanket approach” of reaching settlements with offending firms and would be more likely to review their license to operate in the UK. These remedies are expected to be part of the new strategy.
“We will put all access to all tools, including license review […] on an equal footing. Parliament gave us a wide range of regulatory tools for a reason,” she said, adding that sanctions were likely to include “higher penalties”, particularly when a company was guilty of “repeated failings”.
Harrison referenced long-drawn out settlement deals to settle operator non-compliance issues, saying that in future the Commission will not permit licensees to spend months negotiating deals in which they finally agree a voluntary payment for their misconduct.
She said these settlement negotiations were taking too long and that the Commission is consulting on the introduction of time-limited negotiations in such matters. This could mean that there would be financial penalties attached to unreasonable delays and obfuscation instead of fast resolutions and pay-outs.