In Touch Games is an online multi-brand operator that runs online casino brands like SlotFactory, PocketWin, CashMo, MrSpin, and MFortune.
The Gambling Commission ordered the company to undergo independent assessments as per the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice and ultimately issued a £3.4 million fine.
This is after the Gambling Commission came under scrutiny for not protecting customers in another sports betting platform.
Why In Touch Games Received the Penalty
The company failed in its social responsibilities since they claimed that clients would stand a chance to get a bonus if they provided identification. More so, some of their clients who showed gambling-related problems were not treated as per their policies and procedures.
In such an instance, the casino should have responded by placing mandatory limits on their accounts and providing them with an effective decision-making channel. The AML failures of In Touch Gaming were that the company didn't assess the risk of using cryptocurrency as a banking method.
The company did not also conduct their due diligence in assessing the appropriate levels their customers would spend and neither did the company review the source of funding information from their clients. The company also didn't comply with fair and transparent terms and practices in terms of its interaction with customers.
The operator sent out bonus messages to their customers and didn't state the maximum and minimum withdrawal limits or the duration of claiming the bonus. These failures of the company were enough to warrant the £3.4 million in penalties and an independent audit to ensure its compliance with LCCP.
Roles of The Gambling Commission
The main responsibility of the Gambling Commission is to keep crime out of gambling. They achieve this by ensuring that all platforms meet a rigorous set of regulations. The Commission helps youths and other people who might be vulnerable to gambling. This is partly due to the fact that, in the past, some casinos have tried to bypass the rules and allow minors to open accounts.
However, nowadays, the penalties can damage the brands because of their severity. Players can also know the best casinos by checking whether they have met the set rules and regulations. It ensures that no player ends up being prey to unreliable casinos that might end up stealing their money.
The commission has the power of granting licences to all UK based gambling companies. They also regulate all operators who wish to enter the Great Britain market by providing them with a licence. All parties that acquire the licence from the Gambling Commission have to abide by the 2014 Gambling Act.
The Act requires all foreign companies that wish to advertise in Scotland, Wales or England to have a licence from the Gambling Commission. Some repercussions of not following these regulations include:
- Revoked licences
- Huge fines
Overall the work done by UKGC has certainly been a positive, as the UK gambling market is now heavily regulated and consumers are well protected. If you compare this to a non regulated market like Australia, the difference is huge. Down under majority of the recommended online casino brands are licensed in some exotic offshore jurisdictions that don't do enough to protect the players interests.
The UK is far from the only countries in Europe to heavily regulate iGaming though. The same has been done in Spain via DGOJ and Italy via AAMS.
Regulations Within the Gambling Industry
The Gambling Commission ensures that everything they do is proportionate and consistent thus being able to remain accountable. They use a risk-based approach to weed out the gambling businesses and issues that pose a threat to the licensing objectives. These measures help them eradicate any illegal gambling and corruption.
Compliance Within the Gambling Industry
All licence holders have to understand all the different measures they have to meet to be compliant with the licence conditions and codes of practice and the law. For a gambling business to be compliant, they must meet the rules of:
- The Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP)
- The Gambling Act of 2005 and 2014
- The National Lottery Act
To ensure compliance, the Gambling Commission focuses on the licence holders ability to self regulate. However, they will frequently review financial information, take remedial or preventative action, guide or advise the licence holders, and carry out visits and reviews.
Notable Actions Takes by The Commission
Recently, the Gambling Commission has been active due to many operators failing to satiate the set rules and regulations. Over the last couple of years, the Gambling Commission has taken actions against operators like Leo Vegas and Williams Hill. In 2018 alone, the entity fined Williams Hill £6.2 million.
The fine was due to the operator not protecting its customers due to a system error that failed to prevent money laundering. Leo Vegas was fined £600,000 for providing new players with misleading advertisements. 888 Group was hit with a record penalty of £7.8m back in 2017.