UKGC Issues Seven-figure Fine to Spreadex Limited
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission seems to make the news at least a time or two each month for fines. This has given them a reputation for being super strict when it comes to enforcing their policies. However, most industry figures agree that none of the big fines have been without reasonable cause.
As a result, the UKGC has a reputation for being one of the best jurisdictions in the world for protecting players, and their system is the one used as a model by virtually all emerging markets as a result.
With that said, the latest case of a huge fine has come at the expense of Spreadex Limited. They run a site with an operator’s license in the United Kingdom. However, we’ve seen the same types of issues lead to their fines as what we saw with Ladbrokes earlier this month.
Anti-money Laundering Issues
Two sets of problems were identified that resulted in these fines. The first of these sets of problems were with anti-money laundering guidelines. These types of problems usually result from not verifying where money came from. Additionally, it can involve limiting or preventing larger amounts of money from being deposited when the casino cannot determine its origin and/or legitimacy.
In one case, a customer had deposited enough to break a £25,000 threshold, which prompts an investigation. This was extended to £100,000 after the player declared their own income without further investigation beyond that. It’s easy to see how this is a problem.
Additionally, in another case, a player deposited £365,000 within a three-month period. However, the source of those funds were not clarified sufficiently according to the rules and regulations. This defeats the entire purpose of anti-money laundering policies.
Along with the above, one player was asked for bank statements as a part of an investigation into the source of their funds, but the bank statements the players offered were redacted. This is not allowed, but they continued to allow the player to deposit.
Social Responsibility Issues
The other arena where these things can be a problem is under what we call social responsibility. This has to do with things like providing wellness checks and assistance for problem gambling when requested. Instead of specific incidents being cited so much as above with the anti-money laundering guidelines, items more associated with systemic failures were at play on the social responsibility playing field.
The UKGC determined that the alerts system used was ineffective for players. This was because they were allowed to lose significant amounts in short periods of time with no real intervention. Additionally, it was determined that Spreadex relied too much on these alerts as well when identifying customers to contact.
One of the biggest issues on a systemic level was about their recording of data. The Gambling Commission decided this operator was not recording its interactions with customers at a satisfactory level. As a result, this made it much more difficult to evaluate players and their accounts as needed within the guidelines.
What Comes Next for Spreadex Limited
The fine in this case is in the low seven-figures, which isn’t the largest we’ve seen by even 10 percent of the UKGC fining record. However, it’s definitely enough to get their attention, and that’s the entire point. These funds will largely be used to support programs for players as well, which helps out in other ways.
As for now, Spreadex will be put on a plan to help fix their issues. This is one of the great things about the UKGC approach. While they will fine in a serious way, that’s not all they do. They also make sure that there is a straightforward and workable path to get everyone back where they need to be.