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A slew of online casino sites that have UK gaming licenses are facing potential loss of their gaming licenses as the UK Gambling Commission has warned that they aren't doing enough to stop criminals from laundering money, with five facing the strongest scrutiny.
The UKGC wrote to seventeen betting groups to express their concerns relating to an investigation related to problem betting controls, anti-money laundering, and terrorist financing. Five of the seventeen are facing licensing reviews, which could see them lose their ability to operate within the country. The charges are pretty severe, as the regulator says that the groups are hiring money laundering officials who have no qualifications and are unable to accurately describe money laundering. Suspected money laundering activity is also being under-reported, and when it is, there's a general lack of details given.
Additionally, the regulator has spotted punters exhibiting problem gambling symptoms in their online gameplay, but the activity didn't cause any investigations by the betting groups.
Speaking about the issue UK Labour Party member Tom Watson said, "This serious warning shows many online gambling companies acting as if money laundering and gambling addiction being facilitated on their platforms aren't their problem. The Gambling Commission is right to demand immediate improvement. No firm that fails to take its responsibilities seriously should be allowed to hold a licence."
UKGC CEO Sarah Harrison also spoke out, noting: "It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously. The Gambling Commission's new strategy sets out our vision for a fairer and safer gambling market."
"The action we are taking to examine online casino operators' compliance with money laundering and customer interaction requirements is just one example of how we will be relentless in turning that vision into reality."