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Reporting and contact with Law Enforcement Agencies

Request date: 25 July 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 19 May 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/freedomofinformation/reporting-and-contact-with-law-enforcement-agencies

Request

  1. Apart from the Key Event (#11) and SAR requirements outlined above what other requirements are placed upon licenced operators and personal licence holders with regards to reporting contact by law enforcement agencies (e.g. Police authorities, Crown Prosecution Service, HMRC) to the Commission where that contact is in regard to individual customer accounts?
  2. Does the Commission expect licence holders to report ALL contacts from law enforcement agencies, or only such contacts which the operator KNOWS to both involve “a criminal investigation” AND in their [subjective] opinion may represent an event which might cause the Commission to question if the license holder’s business’s measures to keep crime out of gambling may have failed?
  3. Would the Commission consider it to be a failure to inform on the part of a Licence holder if the Licence holder did not report to the Commission that they had been contacted by a law enforcement agency about a customer’s account due to the Licence holder’s belief that the requirement did not apply due to:
    a) the contacting law enforcement agency not specifically stating that this contact formed part of a live criminal investigation,or
    b) the License holder did not believe that their handling of the customer account was likely to be interpreted by the Commission as indicating a failure of the License holder’s measures to keep crime out of gambling?
  4. Are licence holders required to report to the Commission contact from customers or from other parties – such as alleged victims – where allegations are made as to funds deposited with the licence holder having come from criminal proceeds (and where the operator has not also been contacted by law enforcement agencies)?
  5. Does the Commission record contacts (both made directly to themselves and through notifications from Licence holders) with regard to:
    a) criminal investigations involving customer accounts?
    b) contact from law enforcement agencies involving customer accounts?
  6. Can the Commission tell me how many unique contacts have been made directly to themselves or reported from operators in the past three financial years with regards to:
    a) criminal investigations involving customer accounts?
    b) contact from law enforcement agencies concerning customer accounts?
  7. Are Licence holders required to inform the Commission if they have submitted a Suspicious Activity Report ?
  8. Is the Commission able to estimate the number of individual customer accounts where law enforcement agencies, account holders, or other parties have made contact suggesting possible involvement of criminal proceeds for each of the past three financial years?
  9. Is the Commission able to estimate the percentage of annual Gross Gambling Yield which is either known (through criminal case outcomes) or has been reported as being possibly linked to criminal proceeds for each of the part three financial years?
  10. With regards to the answers to the previous nine questions does the Commission feel that they have sufficient reporting frameworks in place to be able to assure stakeholders that they can evidence their performance in carrying out their statutory duties in “preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime”?

Response

Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

In your email you have requested:

  1. Apart from the Key Event (#11) and SAR requirements outlined above what other requirements are placed upon licenced operators and personal licence holders with regards to reporting contact by law enforcement agencies (e.g. Police authorities, Crown Prosecution Service, HMRC) to the Commission where that contact is in regard to individual customer accounts?
  2. Does the Commission expect licence holders to report ALL contacts from law enforcement agencies, or only such contacts which the operator KNOWS to both involve “a criminal investigation” AND in their [subjective] opinion may represent an event which might cause the Commission to question if the license holder’s business’s measures to keep crime out of gambling may have failed?
  3. Would the Commission consider it to be a failure to inform on the part of a Licence holder if the Licence holder did not report to the Commission that they had been contacted by a law enforcement agency about a customer’s account due to the Licence holder’s belief that the requirement did not apply due to:
    a) the contacting law enforcement agency not specifically stating that this contact formed part of a live criminal investigation,or
    b) the License holder did not believe that their handling of the customer account was likely to be interpreted by the Commission as indicating a failure of the License holder’s measures to keep crime out of gambling?
  4. Are licence holders required to report to the Commission contact from customers or from other parties – such as alleged victims – where allegations are made as to funds deposited with the licence holder having come from criminal proceeds (and where the operator has not also been contacted by law enforcement agencies)?
  5. Does the Commission record contacts (both made directly to themselves and through notifications from Licence holders) with regard to:
    a) criminal investigations involving customer accounts?
    b) contact from law enforcement agencies involving customer accounts?
  6. Can the Commission tell me how many unique contacts have been made directly to themselves or reported from operators in the past three financial years with regards to:
    a) criminal investigations involving customer accounts?
    b) contact from law enforcement agencies concerning customer accounts?
  7. Are Licence holders required to inform the Commission if they have submitted a Suspicious Activity Report ?
  8. Is the Commission able to estimate the number of individual customer accounts where law enforcement agencies, account holders, or other parties have made contact suggesting possible involvement of criminal proceeds for each of the past three financial years?
  9. Is the Commission able to estimate the percentage of annual Gross Gambling Yield which is either known (through criminal case outcomes) or has been reported as being possibly linked to criminal proceeds for each of the part three financial years?
  10. With regards to the answers to the previous nine questions does the Commission feel that they have sufficient reporting frameworks in place to be able to assure stakeholders that they can evidence their performance in carrying out their statutory duties in “preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime”?

Firstly, it should be noted that the FOIA gives individuals the right to request only recorded information held by public authorities, such as the Gambling Commission. It does not provide an avenue for individuals to gain views or opinions of public authorities or information not held at the time the request is made.

Questions 8 – 10 of your request are not for specific recorded information, as such, we are unable to provide any information in line with the FOIA.

Regarding questions 1 – 7 of your request, I can confirm that the Commission does hold information falling within the scope of these enquiries. However, this information is not stored in a central location and requires a manual review across all Gambling Commission information storage areas.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for public authorities, such as the Commission, is set at £450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it would take in excess of 18 hours to determine appropriate material and locate, retrieve and extract any relevant information in reference to your request as there is a high volume of records which may contain relevant information and would need to be checked individually.

When a public authority applies the Section 12 exemption to a request, the FOIA guidance specifically states that a public authority should avoid providing any information found as a result of a search as it denies the requestor the right to express a preference as to which parts of the request they may wish to receive within the appropriate time limit. Guidance on the application of section 12 can be viewed here:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1199/costs_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf (opens in new tab)

If you are able to narrow your request, we may be able to provide some data by working up to the time limit.

Until we are able to process the search and retrieval of the information you have requested, that can be provided within the statutory time limit, we are unable to ascertain if other exemptions will apply to the material retrieved, which would also prevent disclosure.

Please note, any refined request would be processed as a new request and the 20 working day statutory time limit would apply.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B2 4BP