BUSINESS

Danske Spil fined $176k for AML lapses, has online wings clipped

TAGs: danske spil, Denmark

danske-spil-fine-money-launderingDenmark’s state-owned gambling and lottery operator Danske Spil has been fined $176k for alleged lapses in its anti-money laundering protocols.

On Wednesday, Danske Spil announced that it had agreed to pay a fine of DKK 1.2m imposed by the State Attorney for Special Economic and International Crime. The fine was related to the activities of a problem gambler who embezzled money from the insurance company at which he worked, then blew the lot with a number of gambling operators, including Danske Spil.

The gambler was a regular at Danske Spil between 2013 and 2015. The Spillemyndigheden gambling authority launched an investigation into the brouhaha in 2015 after the gambler’s embezzling ways came to light.

Danske Spil chairman Peter Gæmelke maintains that his company was paying the fine under protest, claiming that, back in 2013 when the embezzler began his losing streak, the regulator hadn’t yet offered guidance on gambling operators’ responsibilities for determining the source of their customers’ funding.

April was already a downer month for Danske Spil. Spillemyndigheden renewed the company’s monopoly licenses for lottery, dog and horse race betting operations earlier this month, but there was a catch. Denmark’s Competition and Consumer Authority expressed concern that Danske Spil was abusing its monopolistic position by cross-selling lottery customers to its online casino and betting products, an area in which the company has to compete with other Danish-licensed online operators.

These concerns mean Danske Spil will have to split its online operations to ensure a clear separation between its lottery customers and those who wish to partake of other gaming products. In addition to operating distinct websites for each product, players will also have to maintain separate online wallets.

Denmark opened its online market to international companies in 2012, and the country’s new regime has been hailed as a model for other European countries looking to transition away from a monopoly-dominated market. But the competition watchdogs apparently feel that the Danske Spil brand’s familiarity is already enough of an advantage.

Last year, the Danish government publicly mused about privatizing Danske Spil’s non-lottery operations. In February, Unibet’s parent company the Kindred Group was reportedly kicking Danske Spil’s tires but this interest doesn’t appear to have translated into relevant action, at least, not yet.

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