Raising Standards for consumers - Compliance and Enforcement report 2020 to 2021
Enforcement and Compliance report foreword
This year has been one of the busiest for our Enforcement and Compliance teams as the Gambling Commission continues to take strong action against operators who fail to meet the required standards. And while Covid-19 caused global disruption, our Compliance and Enforcement teams have continued to work throughout.
Our casework led to the suspension of five operator licences and the revocation of licences for one operator and nine personal management licence holders.
A total of £32.1million was paid by 15 gambling businesses as a result of fines or regulatory settlements – more than any previous year.
As part of our refined focus and process, we conducted 25 full assessments of online operators and five targeted assessments of land-based operators.
Additionally, we carried out 83 website reviews and 262 security audits. Some 29 personal licence reviews were commenced and 57 were finalised.
We know the last two years have been difficult with Covid-19 severely impacting both consumers and businesses. Throughout this period we have regularly gathered data and then drawn on that data to better protect consumers. As the Commission’s new Chief Executive, I am impressed by the amount of enforcement work carried out, but it is also disappointing that it should be necessary. Looking back at enforcement in 2020 to 2021 we see the same two weaknesses in almost every case – operators failing to adhere to social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules.
These regulations are there for two very good reasons – to protect people and ensure that gambling is crime-free. These rules underpin two of the three licensing objectives, without which it would be impossible for us to permit gambling as laid out in the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab). So, adherence should be at the forefront of every operator’s mind.
The reasons for these failings are almost as concerning as the failings themselves. Our casework reveals that operators are either not making suitable resources available or are simply putting commercial objectives ahead of regulatory ones.
This is simply unacceptable and will be seen as such by others in the industry who work hard to achieve compliance.
Of course, I know that many gambling firms have had a difficult 18 months, and that the future of many companies was unclear. Hard decisions were made to save jobs and livelihoods. Whilst the threat of Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, the gambling sector has largely resumed operations. As the Great Britian’s regulator for the gambling industry, we still see far too many breaches of regulations where everyone in the industry agrees we should not see them. The industry has the resources, skills and knowledge to change this.
Our Enforcement and Compliance work will continue to focus on customer protection, as consumers have every reason to expect. This will vary from paying very close attention to novel products to checking that operators are looking after their customers by meeting the LCCP requirements and taking into account the current Commission guidance on anti-money laundering and customer interaction (which will shortly be updated and consolidated following our consultation on this topic).
I hope you find this report informative and a timely reminder how the Commission seeks to ensure regulatory compliance. I look forward to working with you all to make gambling safer, fairer and crime free.
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Enforcement report 2020 to 2021 - Anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing
Last updated: 8 December 2021
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