Regulation

Gambling Commission fines Pocketwin operator In Touch £3.4m

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Online casino operator In Touch Games will pay a £3.4m fine and must undergo “extensive auditing” after the Gambling Commission uncovered a series of failings within the business.

In Touch was found to have breached the Social Responsibility Code (SRCP) and Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) , as well as failing to take steps to prevent money laundering.

The SRCP violations included a statement in its responsible gambling interaction guidance that allowed bonuses to be offered for customers that verify their identity.

In addition, the operator failed to implement its interaction policies and procedures for seven customers, despite concerns that their behaviour indicated problem gambling.

In Touch also failed to use all relevant sources of information to ensure effective decision making for these seven customers. The Commission argued it should have given more consideration to limiting deposits to their accounts.

Its anti-money laundering (AML) risk assessments were also found to be lacking. This was down to the operator failing to take into account risks associated with allowing customers to use a payment provider that also acts as an exchange for cryptocurrencies.

In addition, it did not conduct appropriate enhanced due diligence checks and failed to critically review source of funds information that was provided.

These failings amounted to a breach of LCCP 12.1.1, which states operators must have “appropriate policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing” and ensure these are implemented correctly.

The operator’s marketing also came under scrutiny, as it failed to be “fair and transparent” – as required in licence condition 7.1.1 – in a SMS message for a bonus offer. The text did not state minimum and maximum deposits or time limits for the offer in question.

As a result of these failings, In Touch must pay a £3.4m fine and at its own expense, bring in a team of independent auditors to carry out an audit to make sure that it is fully compliant with the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

“Through our challenging compliance and enforcement activity we will continue our work to raise standards in the industry and continue to hold failing operators to account,” RIchard Watson, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said.

Earlier this week, Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur stepped down after four years in the role. Deputy chief executive Sarah Gardner and chief operating officer Sally Jones will serve as joint acting chief executives until the Commission finds a permanent replacement.