In Touch Games fined £6.1m for social responsibility and AML failures

| By Robert Fletcher
The Great Britain Gambling Commission has fined igaming operator In Touch Games (ITG) £6.1m (€6.9m/$7.5m) for a series of social responsibility and money laundering failures.
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ITG, which operates 11 websites in Britain including Bonusboss.co.uk, Drslot.co.uk, Cashmo.co.uk and Slotfactory.co.uk, failed a compliance assessment in March 2022 and the Commission took action as a result.

Among the social responsibility failures identified by the regulator were ITG not interacting with a customer until seven weeks after they had been flagged for interaction for erratic play patterns and extended periods of play.

ITG was also found to have accepted a customer’s word that they earned £6,000 a month without verifying this information after the player’s account was flagged due to customer spend and gambling during unsociable hours.

In terms of anti-money laundering failures, the Commission said these included ITG not adequately taking account of the risk of a customer being a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, having links to high-risk jurisdictions, or being a politically exposed person (PEP), family member of a PEP or known close associates of a PEP, within its money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment.

The regulator also flagged how ITG did not have policies, procedures and controls in place to address key risk factors, nor did the operator sufficiently consider the Commission’s money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment or its guidance.

Other anti-money laundering failures included ITG not ensuring its policies, procedures and controls were implemented effectively. An example of this was ITG not following its own policy to request source of funds information from customers who had deposited and lost £10,000 in a 12-month period.

In terms of specific breaches, the Commission said ITG breached licence condition 12.1.1 paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, in relation to anti-money laundering and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

ITG was also found to be in breach of Social Responsibility Code Provision (SRCP) 3.4.1 Customer Interaction – paragraphs 1b, 1c and 2. Failure to comply with an SRCP, the regulator said, is a breach of a licence condition by virtue of section 82(1) of the Gambling Act 2005.

As such, the Commission decided to impose a financial penalty of £6.1m under section 121(1) of the Act.

This was the third time ITG faced regulatory action; in 2019 the operator paid a settlement of £2.2m for regulatory failures, while in 2021 it received a £3.4m fine and warning for further failures.

“Considering this operator’s history of failings, we expected to see significant improvement when we carried out our planned compliance assessment,” the Commission’s executive director of operations, Kay Roberts, said. “Disappointingly, although many improvements had been made, there was still more to do.

“This £6.1m fine shows that we will take escalating enforcement action where failures are repeated, and all licensees should be acutely aware of this.”

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