Smarkets (Malta) Limited Faces £630,000 Regulatory Fine, Warning and Additional Licence Condition Due to AML and Social Responsibility Failure

Daniel Williams

Today, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that an online gambling company will have to pay a monetary fine of £630,000 after an investigation held by the regulator unravelled a series of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures.

The UKGC revealed that Smarkets (Malta) Limited is set to pay the aforementioned 6-figure sum because of the failures, as a result of which customers have been allowed to gamble without proper source-of-income checks. The online gambling operator also failed to identify and interact with customers who were exposed to risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.

Apart from the financial penalty, the company also faced a formal warning from the UK gambling regulator and is set to undergo a special audit from the Commission that wants to make sure that the operator is effectively implementing its social responsibility and anti-money laundering controls, policies and procedures.

The Deputy CEO of the UKGC, Sarah Gardner, shared that the case was identified through compliance checks and once again emphasises the regulatory body’s decisiveness to take the necessary enforcement action against gambling companies that fail their customers. She further noted that the watchdog’s investigation unveiled a variety of failures at Smarkets (Malta) Limited, where consumers were put at risk of gambling-related harm. As the Commission’s representative explained, the UKGC auditors found that poor systems and processes had been placed, which contributed to the aforementioned breaches and failures.

UK Gambling Commission Finds Several Anti-Money Laundering and Social Responsibility Failings

The £630,000 fine faced by Smarkets (Malta) Limited is the latest monetary penalty issued by the UK Gambling Commission in a series of enforcement actions in 2022. Earlier this month, the country’s gambling regulator unveiled a £1.32-million fine that was imposed on the online gambling company LeoVegas due to anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings.

As for Smarkets (Malta) Limited, the company was found to have breached a number of rules in terms of social responsibility and anti-money laundering. The online gambling operator cooperated with the regulator throughout the inquiry and then took corrective steps to address the failures found by the investigation.

The review carried out by the UK Gambling Commission found that the licensee violated paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of its licence condition 12.1.1 regarding the prevention of terrorist financing and anti-money laundering. Smarkets (Malta) Limited also failed to act in line with the ordinary code provision 2.1.2 for casino anti-money laundering measures. The online gambling operator was found to have not complied with provision 3.4.1 of the Social Responsibility Code of Practice (SRCP) in terms of customer interaction.

As mentioned above, as a result of the unearthed failures, the UKGC decided to impose a warning under the Gambling Act 2005 section 117 (1) (a). The regulatory body also attached an additional condition to the operating licence of the online gambling company requiring Smarkets (Malta) Limited to conduct a third-party audit within 12 months of the UKGC’s review. The licensee also faced a £630,000 fine under section 121 of the Gambling Act 2005.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez