24 Jul 2022
The Great Britain Gambling Commission has ordered LeoVegas to pay a fine of £1.3m (€1.6m/$1.6m) after identifying a series of failings, many related to setting triggers too high.
Following an assessment of the online gambling operator's license, the Commission determined that LeoVegas violated a number of its licensing requirements between October 2019 and October 2020.
Breaking down some of the violations, the regulator stated that LeoVegas established expenditure triggers for safer gambling team customer review that were much greater than the typical customer's spend with no explanation as to why this was reasonable. The operator was also discovered to have selected the threshold at which consumers were forced to take a 45-minute break after six hours of play, with no explanation as to why.
The Commission also stated that LeoVegas failed to follow its own policy of communicating with clients who had banned deposits, cancelled withdrawals, extended gaming sessions, or gambling sessions that occurred late at night or early in the morning.
Furthermore, the Commission stated that LeoVegas did not adequately consider the regulator's instructions on consumer engagement provided in 2019.
Setting overly high financial triggers for anti-money laundering inspections was one of the AML failures.
According to the Commission, LeoVegas also "over-relied on ineffective threshold triggers and inadequate information" to determine how much a player can spend.
The regulator also stated that there were insufficient safeguards in place to prevent players from spending significant sums of money in a short period of time.
Specific rule violations included paragraphs 2 and 3 of licensing condition 12.1.1 on anti-money laundering, which address the prevention of money laundering and terrorist funding, as well as paragraph 1 of licence condition 12.1.2, which also addresses AML.
In addition, LeoVegas was found to have violated articles 1(a), 1(b), and 2 of the social responsibility code of practice (SRCP) 3.4.1 in respect to client contact.
In addition, the Commission said LeoVegas did not comply with SRCP 3.9.1 regarding the identification of customers and failed to act in accordance with ordinary code provision (OCP) 2.1.1 in reference to AML.
LeoVegas, which runs Leovegas.com, Slotboss.co.uk, Pinkcasino.co.uk, Betuk.com and 21.co.uk, will also receive an official warning and undergo an audit to ensure it is effectively implementing AML and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls.
The regulator noted that LeoVegas cooperated with the Commission throughout the investigation and has taken appropriate remedial action to address the identified failings.
“We identified this through focused compliance activity and we will continue to take action against other operators if they do not learn the lessons our enforcement work is providing,” the Commission’s director of enforcement and intelligence, Leanne Oxley, said.
“This case is a further example of operators failing to protect customers and failing to be alive to money laundering risks within their business.”
LeoVegas may soon be acquired by land-based giant MGM Resorts, after the LeoVegas board unanimously recommended shareholders approve an acquisition offer from MGM. MGM will pay SEK61 (£4.90/€5.85/$6.16) per share to acquire all of LeoVegas’ share capital. MGM said it will finance the deal through its existing cash reserves.
However, a month after the offer was announced, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority launched a preliminary investigation into suspected insider trading in LeoVegas’ shares related to the deal.