UKGC Investigation Ends in £1.3m Regulatory Settlement for White Hat Gaming

A high price for non-compliance

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has ended an investigation into the activity of online casino operator White Hat Gaming. In its ruling, the national gambling body said the company will pay a £1.3m ($1.8m) regulatory settlement.

failures significantly impacted three customers specifically, who lost a combined £205,000 ($280,183)

The UKGC conducted the investigation as part of ongoing work into operator compliance and found White Hat Gaming had “inadequate anti-money laundering and social responsibility procedures.” These failures significantly impacted three customers specifically, who lost a combined £205,000 ($280,183).

As part of its ruling, announced publicly on Thursday, the UKGC said White Gaming will pay the regulatory settlement “in lieu of a financial penalty.” In addition, White Hat Gaming confirmed its commitment to improving procedures going forward. The settlement funds will go towards the commission’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

Further details of the investigation

The UKGC began a full investigation into White Hat Gaming after a compliance assessment in March 2019. It found failings on four White Hat Gaming websites, namely The Grand Ivy Casino, 21 Casino, Hello Casino, and Dream Vegas.

The regulator outlined three cases in which the company failed to conduct satisfactory customer checks. In the first case, White Hat Gaming did not conduct source of funds checks when a customer lost £70,000 ($95,560) in three months. In the two other instances, the commission said White Hat Gaming had “ineffective interaction” with customers. One customer lost £50,000 ($68,257) in six hours, while the other blew £85,000 ($116,037) in just over one hour.

After announcing the ruling, Richard Watson, executive director of the UKGC, confirmed a continued commitment to compliance enforcement. He said: “We will continue our work to raise standards in the industry and continue to hold failing operators to account.”

The commission’s compliance strategy

On April 25, 2019, the UKGC launched a new three-year strategy with the aim of reducing gambling harm. Titled the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the plan focused on two main areas. This included the prevention of gambling harm and providing treatment for those already suffering from addiction.

three months after the plan’s announcement, Entain-owned Ladbrokes Coral received a £5.9m ($8m) fine

As part of its strategy, the commission said it would take a “firm regulatory enforcement approach” to ensure compliance. Since then, there have been a number of high-profile fines. Just three months after the plan’s announcement, Entain-owned Ladbrokes Coral received a £5.9m ($8m) fine for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

In addition to stricter regulatory enforcement, the UKGC announced its intention to increase investment in gambling harm research. This included plans for the establishment of a National Research Centre and National Data Repository. In 2019, commission chairman William Moyes said the scheme would help society “better understand the full range of harms and how to protect against them.”

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