GC orders Greentube to pay £685,000 for AML and safer gambling failings

| By Robert Fletcher
The GB Gambling Commission has ordered Novomatic subsidiary Greentube Alderney to pay £685,000 (€805,448/$912,304) over social responsibility and money laundering failings.

A review of the business’ activities, launched in December 2020, uncovered failings in the anti-money laundering (AML) policies and safer gambling protocols across Greentube’s Admiralcasino.co.uk and Bellfruitcasino.com sites.

This amounted to breaches of licence condition 12.1.1, 12.1.2, 15.2.1 of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), and provision 3.4.1 of the Social Responsibility Code.

The condition 12.1.1 breaches related to Greentube Alderney’s AML processes, with the review finding deficiencies in its record keeping and evaluation of the assessments it put in place. 

The Commission noted that the business also failed to make provision for monitoring money laundering risks out of hours, and relied heavily on slots being a lower risk product from an AML perspective. 

There was also an over-reliance on open source data for source of funds checks and “unacceptable” delays to confirming customers owned the payment solutions they used. 

The 12.1.2 breach related to a politically exposed person (PEP), who was able to gamble up to a £1,000 deposit limit before source of wealth checks were carried out. It failed to prepare AML assessments based on Gambling Commission guidance, lacking information on how much a customer should be allowed to spend based on income, wealth or any other money laundering risk factors.

Suspicious activity reports, to inform authorities of potentially illegal activity, were not submitted to the Commission within five days of being raised with the National Crime Agency, resulting in a breach of condition 15.2.1.

Finally, the business breached provision 3.4.1 of the Social Responsibility Code by relying heavily on its £1,000 30-day net loss threshold to identify signs of problematic gambling. Other markers of harm failed to take into account factors such as the length, frequency and time of day individuals gambled. 

The onus was put on the customer to set proactive limits, rather than interactions or affordability assessments, while average income data was used to set deposit limits. These, on occasion, were too high and reliant on open source information, the regulator said. 

This resulted in Greentube Alderney agreeing to pay £685,000 in lieu of a financial penalty, to be used to fund the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. It will also pay the Gambling Commission’s investigation costs of £8,789.86.

A specific condition has also been added to Greentube’s operating licence, which requires the business to carry out a third-party audit to review its compliance with the LCCP. This must be undertaken within 12 months, and the results shared with the regulator.

“Compliance with Commission rules aimed at keeping people safe and gambling crime-free is not optional,” Gambling Commission executive director Helen Venn said. 

“We will always take firm action against those operators who fail to meet the high standards we expect for consumers in Britain.”

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