Thursday, 12 November 2020

Operator BoyleSports Fined £2.8M Over Anti-Money Laundering Failings


Gambling firm BoyleSports has been fined by the UK Gambling Commission for a series of failings.

The Irish company, which owns several betting shops across the UK and runs two online gambling websites, has been fined a whopping £2.8 million by the UK Gambling Commission after the regulatory body discovered a series of failings regarding anti-money laundering (AML) failings.

Through its review, the Commission found that the company’s and websites did not have appropriate anti-money laundering assessments and that its anti-money laundering policies, controls, and procedures were, as the Commission describes, “unsuitable” and “could not be implemented effectively”.

Following the investigation, the Gambling Commission found that BoyleSports had breached its licensing conditions aimed at preventing money laundering and as a result fined the operator and imposed several tighter restrictions to avoid any future failings to prevent any future occurrences.

As reported by the Racing Post, the tighter restrictions include a requirement to appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer to ensure that BoyleSports follows the Commission’s anti-money laundering policies, as well as a requirement that all senior staff at the company undergo anti-money laundering training.

Speaking about BoyleSports’ failings, UK Gambling Commission Executive Director Richard Watson said in a statement: “It is vital that all gambling businesses have effective anti-money laundering policies and procedures firmly in place and as part of our ongoing drive to raise standards we will continue to take tough action against operators who do not.”

In a statement, a BoyleSports spokesperson announced the company had accepted the Commission’s ruling, adding: “BoyleSports co-operated fully with the investigation and acknowledged the findings from the outset. BoyleSports has compliance and governance at the centre of its operating principles and continues to invest in its processes, its people, and its systems.”

The news comes as the Commission has taken a tougher stand on raising standards within the gambling industry while also working on protecting customers. Over the last few months, this has seen numerous gambling companies, both online and offline, receive fines or have their licenses suspended or revoked.

Last week, we reported how the Gambling Commission had made the decision to revoke Silverbond Enterprises Limited’s gambling license for Park Lane Casino, a members-only casino venue located in Mayfair, London. According to the Commission, the license was revoked due to a change in corporate control of which the regulatory body was no satisfied with.

Back in July this year, the Commission suspended Genesis Global Limited’s operating license, forcing the company to shut down all of its UK-facing websites. According to the Commission, the suspension came after a review found that the operator had breached a condition of its license and was no longer suitable to continue operating its services in the UK.

However, the regulatory body lifted the suspension last month, allowing Genesis Global to relaunch its websites in the United Kingdom and resume all operations. However, the Commission has confirmed that it will continue to monitor Genesis Global Limited closely and work with the organisation to ensure it meets all licensing conditions.

More recently, the Commission shared a message urging all online gambling operators to ensure their highest operating standards and implement customer protections amid England’s second national lockdown following concern that lockdown could lead vulnerable people into developing gambling-related harm.

Horse Racing Under Lockdown

With England currently being under lockdown and parts of Scotland facing tight restrictions, many gambling companies are facing tremendous financial risk which could see venue closures and job cuts. To help, online sports betting websites have agreed to pay additional fees through to December 2nd, when the English lockdown ends, to boost the horse racing sector.

As reported by FocusGN, the additional revenue will be paid on streaming and data deals and will reportedly help racecourses make up for the revenue loss they experience due to the closure of brick-and-mortar betting shops under lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions.

Speaking about the additional fees, Racecourse Media Group Commercial Director Nick Mills said: “We are very grateful to all our streaming and data partners who have agreed to pay an increased fee for the RMG Watch & Bet service for one month. This will help compensate our racecourses for some of the revenues lost from our LBO (Licensed Betting Office) business, while shops are closed. This shows what can be achieved by racing and betting working effectively together, which is especially important in these times.”

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Executive Michael Dugher added: “There has always been a close relationship between betting and racing. So, with the Government’s ongoing Covid restrictions affecting the sport so severely, it’s welcome that bookmakers are stepping up to further support the sport.

“This extra funding for streaming and data rights will undoubtedly help racing’s finances for the next month, and I’m delighted to see the BGC members assisting the sport in this way. We will continue to make the case to the Government that betting shops should be allowed to re-open, in line with the rest of non-essential retail once the national lockdown ends, and that socially-distanced crowds return to race meetings as soon as possible.”

Dugher then added: “I’m equally  sure that the whole of racing will be making the case ahead of the Government’s gambling review that a healthy betting industry is critical to the future of the sport.”

The BGC’s comments come as the organisation continues to campaign for the re-opening of all betting shops and casino venues in England once lockdown finishes, as well as an end to tight restrictions imposed by the UK Governments. It’s also been working with the UK Gambling Commission to drive up standards within the industry to better protect players and offer safe and fair gaming.