Thursday, 15 November 2018

Online Casino Group Stride Gaming Fined £7M by UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission has fined online casino group Stride Gaming with a whopping £7.1 million.

According to reports, the UK-based regulator announced on Tuesday (November 13) that Daub Alderney, part of the Stride Gaming Group, would be fined over anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.

The total sum of money is almost double the amount that the group claimed to be saving aside in September after the Commission’s regulatory review of the casino.

The UK Gambling Commission’s review found that Stride had failed to conduct an appropriate ongoing monitoring of a business relationship, apply sufficient customer due diligence measures in high-risk situations, keep adequate records of its due diligence checks, establish and maintain appropriate and risk-sensitive policies and procedures and, lastly, properly train staff on recognising and dealing with potentially dodgy customer transactions.

In addition to the above, the report determined that Daub Alderney failed to conduct the necessary inquiries regarding over 700 customers’ source of funds. Stride Gaming Group has now frozen 63 of these accounts due to a lack of information.

The UK Gambling Commission also revealed that Stride had “significant limitations” in its ability to “proactively identify and mitigate risk” of problem gambling behaviour. The Commission states that casino staff were not trained properly to identify questionable behaviour.

Following the report, Stride hired a Risk and Regulatory Compliance Committee, a new Director of Compliance as well as a Fraud and Risk Training and QA Manager.

Nigel Payne, the Non-Executive Chairman of Stride Gaming, said in a statement: “Stride Gaming considers that robust anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls are extremely important.

“We remain disappointed with the particular circumstances of this case and with certain factual inaccuracies which were presented by the Gambling Commission to the regulatory panel in the course of the proceedings, which we believe coloured the size of the fine that has been imposed.”

A Crackdown on Online Gambling

Richard Watson, the UK Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, said in a statement that the fine was only “part of an ongoing investigation into the online casino sector”. He also claimed that Stride’s standards “did not match the protections required, and this fine reflects the seriousness of these lapses.”

The news comes just days after Neil McArthur, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, urged online casino operators to “join the race to the top” during a speech at Commission’s Raising Standards Conference. 

During the speech, McArthur stated that all industry stakeholders have to improve operational standards and cooperation in order to “know their customers better”. He also revealed that online casino operators will soon face tougher requirements in order to make Britain “fairest and safest” gambling jurisdiction in the world.