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National Strategic Assessment 2020

This report sets out our latest assessment of the issues we face and the risks that gambling poses to consumers and the public

  1. Contents
  2. The provider of facilities for gambling
  3. What are the issues - Personal Management Licence Holders (PMLs)

What are the issues - Personal Management Licence Holders (PMLs)

Businesses do not make decisions that aggravate or mitigate risk to the licensing objectives – people do. Within gambling companies, the culture, strategic direction, and oversight start with the ownership and Board of Directors.

Several serious regulatory failings in recent years have exposed governance controls as inadequate and commitments to drive a culture of safer gambling inconsistent with operational delivery.

We expect Board members and senior Executives to ask questions, scrutinise regulatory outcomes and intervene to ensure compliance with the licence conditions.

Individuals occupying senior positions, including Board members whether they hold PMLs or not should be ensuring they:

  • uphold the licensing objectives and ensure compliance of operators with the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP)
  • organise and control their affairs responsibly and effectively
  • have adequate controls to keep gambling fair and safe
  • conduct their business with integrity
  • act with due care, skill and diligence
  • have due regard to the information needs of consumers and communicate with them in a way that is clear, not misleading, and allows them to make an informed judgment about whether to gamble manage conflicts of interest fairly
  • disclose to the Commission anything which the Commission would reasonably expect to know
  • work with the Commission in an open and co-operative way
  • comply with both the letter and spirit of their licence, the licence of their operator, and associated Commission regulations.

Licensees can expect us to continue to act against accountable individuals to ensure standards are raised to the levels required, whether in relation to the business or individual capability.

We are continuing to focus on the role played by Personal Management Licence holders (PML) when undertaking compliance and enforcement investigations.

PMLs are required to be held by anyone with responsibilities for:

  • overall strategy and delivery of gambling operations
  • financial planning, control and budgeting
  • marketing and commercial development
  • regulatory compliance
  • gambling-related IT provision and security
  • management of licensed activity for a particular area in Great Britain where you have five or more sets of premises for which you hold a premises licence
  • management of a single set of bingo and/ or casino licensed premises.

These roles can be challenging especially where there has been insufficient progress by Boards and Executive teams to drive cultural change in recognition of the raising of minimum standards in the British market.

Unfortunately, we continue to identify failings and have had to sanction individuals fulfilling these roles.

Common failings have emerged from:

  • failures to assess if decisions being made at Executive level are being implemented within businesses. Often linked to the risk framework of the business not being robust and challenging questions not being asked
  • overly complicated lines of decision making and accountability, with PML holders unclear who was responsible for issues, particularly when passed from premises to headquarters and back
  • lack of technical knowledge and oversight of areas they have specific responsibility for, especially in respect of AML.
  • prioritising commercial outcomes over regulatory responsibility.

In the past year we have commenced section 116 reviews on 49 PML holders. Outcomes have included the requirement for training, additional licence conditions, warnings and licence revocations.

All the below case studies resulted in regulatory action against individual PML holders.

Case Study

A Director of Gaming at a land-based casino who played a role in failing to ensure a casino complied with the requirement to complete a risk assessment, had appropriate policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing and comply with social responsibility code of practice requirements.

Case Study

A Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) at a land-based casino who failed to ensure a casino had put into effect adequate anti-money laundering controls (including a risk assessment) and the requirements of social responsibility Code 3.4.1.

Case Study

An MLRO of an online casino who failed to ensure the licensee had in place an adequate risk assessment with effective underpinning policies, procedures and controls. The risk assessment and policies and procedures should have been implemented effectively and kept under review to mitigate the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Case Study

A PML holder responsible for overall management and direction of an online operator who failed to adhere to Licence condition 1.2.1(1) by ensuring that the person occupying a key position held a personal management licence (PML).They also failed to put into effect adequate anti-money laundering controls (including a risk assessment) and notify the Commission of a key event – that a person holding a key position had ceased to occupy that position.

Case Study

A PML holder responsible for regulatory compliance at an online operator who failed to ensure the licensee had put into effect adequate anti-money laundering controls (including a risk assessment).

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What are the issues - Change of corporate control
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What are the issues - Our assessment of a Licensee’s compliance
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