Despite the fact that our gambling regulators have repeatedly failed our industry, we have to accept that it is our responsibility to ensure that it does not happen again. The Commission has issued guidelines for gaming operators to ensure they have appropriate and effective AML controls, but they are not always followed. For example, BGO has repeatedly failed to ensure that staff interacting with customers showing signs of problem gambling have the appropriate resources to support their efforts.
This failure was evident in Aspers’ case. The company failed to offer meaningful customer interaction with its VIP customers. Aspers’ failure was insufficient and it had assumed that the VIP customers were financially capable of bearing their losses. PTES also did not have any provisions for VIP customers. It did not have adequate training for managing these relationships. The Commission’s findings were published for public scrutiny, and the industry hopes that they will help other operators avoid the same mistakes.
The Commission also identified that BGO, which holds a combined operating licence (which includes a casino and remote operator), had failed to implement its AML and SR controls. The report found systematic failures in BGO’s customer interaction and revealed systemic failings in its SR and AML controls, which affected a significant number of customers from multiple online casinos. This issue is especially concerning because BGO’s management failed to identify money laundering risks or implement safer gambling policies that would have prevented such failures.
Casinos have also failed to implement effective anti-money-laundering controls. These measures should include measures to ensure that customers are protected and their money is secure. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require licensees to use appropriate anti-money laundering practices, including enhanced CDD and SOF checks. Casinos should also implement backstop limits to prevent further spending in instances where the Commission finds evidence of money laundering or other illegal activity.