HM Gibraltar imposes fines on online gambling sector
The HM Government of Gibraltar has imposed fines totalling £2.5 million across its online gambling sector after it identified weak processes and controls in relation to ensuring AML protections. The fines follow a ‘thematic review’ handled by Gibraltar’s Gambling Division undertaking risk assessment of AML and compliance duties. In the statement, the Gambling Division claimed that operators had ‘worked collaboratively’ with its investigation to rectify ‘generic system weaknesses that are common to more than one operator’.
But while AML risk-based controls was gradually improving, the Gambling Division said it had recorded too many instances where ‘risk tolerances were too great and the timing on interventions was too slow or ineffective’. A single specific case studied revealed that several operators had processed money that had been stolen from an employer by an individual, who had fraudulently forged documents and provided false information in relation to their source of funds. Gibraltar’s government issued a warning against betting leadership to proceed with caution in regards to AML duties.
Moreover, operators must make sure that they possess all the technical controls and system capabilities that will be monitoring all player accounts and transactions. In the meantime, operational and customer service teams should be trained to a ‘commensurate level’ as a necessity in endorsing AML and social responsibility obligations. Operators are also responsible of reporting suspicious activity in a timely manner in line with their obligations under the Gibraltar Proceeds of Crime Act 2015.
The Gibraltar government also verified that fine proceeds totalling £2.5 million would be given to the ‘Gibraltar Gambling Care Foundation’ in support of the incorporation of training initiatives at the Gibraltar University in AML and the respect social responsibility by their employees.
“Executive teams under the supervision of their Boards should ensure that internal risk assessments and reviews in this area take full account of the Gambling Commissioner’s expectations in this important area,” the government underlined. “The fact that this matter has not proceeded to the enforcement stage under POCA supervisory powers in respect of any single issue, does not mean that these powers will not be utilised in the future and the wider industry should heed the learnings detailed in this thematic review.”