Legal & compliance

Gambling Commission fines Casumo £6m amid player interaction failings

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The GB Gambling Commission has fined online operator Casumo £6m (€7.0m/$8.2m) for anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility failings, including allowing a player to lose £1.1m without a responsible gambling interaction.

The Commission said that the Casumo player lost £1.1m over the course of three years, but the operator did not interact to ensure they were gambling responsibly.

Other players who did not receive an interaction included one who lost £65,000 in a month, another who lost £76,000 over seven months, one who lost £89,000 in a five-hour period and another who lost £59,000 within 90 minutes.

Social Responsibility Code provision 3.4.1 says that “licensees must interact with customers in a way which minimises the risk of customers experiencing harms associated with gambling,” adding that this includes identifying those at risk of harm.

Its AML failings, meanwhile, included a finding that customers could deposit “significant sums of money” without AML checks, while source of funds checks were found to be “insufficient” as payslips and invoices presented as evidence of funds were not corroborated with bank statements.

The Commission found that Casumo did not have internal spending limits based on known income, wealth or other factors.

These failings breached Licence Condition 12.1.1, which states that operators must have sufficient AML checks.

In addition, bank statements were not fully checked, and some incomplete statements had been approved. ID checks, meanwhile, were similarly found to be insufficient.

As well as the £6m fine, Casumo has received an official warning and must call in and pay for independent auditors to ensure that it keeps up with the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

Casumo said the failings were found in an audit conducted between October 2019 and 8 January 2020, when it was in its “start-up phase”.

It said any issues had since been remedied following the appointment of Shelly Suter-Hadad as chief executive.

“Since joining Casumo last year, my focus has been on putting in place a new senior leadership team and Personal Management License holders with extremely strong industry experience and the knowledge and expertise to ensure we are a compliance-led business” Suter-Hadad said.

“In addition, recognising that key processes fell short in the past, I took immediate action to implement fundamental operational changes so that Casumo is now a gaming group with compliance and responsible gambling at the heart of its business and culture.”

Casumo added that the Gambling Commission had acknowledged a “fundamental shift” in policies and processes in this time period.

“These efforts, together with our full collaboration, have been formally recognised multiple times by the Commission,” Suter-Hadad said.

Richard Watson, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said: “This case was brought about through planned compliance activity and every operator out there should be aware that we will continue to take firm action against those who fail to raise standards.”

Last week, the Commission fined online casino operator In Touch Games £3.4m after finding that the operator failed to implement its interaction policies and procedures for seven customers, despite concerns that their behaviour indicated problem gambling. The Commission also found that In Touch’s responsible gambling interaction guidance allowed bonuses to be offered for customers that verify their identity.

Earlier this month, Football Index operator BetIndex had its British licence suspended after the Gambling Commission conducted a review on the operator following changes to its dividend structure that BetIndex said were necessary to keep the platform sustainable.
The regulator expressed concerns that the platform was not suitable to carry on with licensed activities, and following the suspension the operator was also dropped by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) as a member.

Also this month, Neil McArthur stepped down as chief executive of the Gambling Commission with immediate effect. McArthur said that it was “the right time to step away” from the role.

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