Irish betting operator Boylesports has learned the hard way that its UK market expansion comes with some pretty serious compliance strings attached.
On Wednesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that it had imposed a £2.8m fine and additional license conditions on Boylesports Enterprises after an investigation revealed “a series of money laundering failures” at the operator’s UK-facing online sports betting and casino sites.
Specifically, Boylesports was determined to have “failed to have an appropriate money laundering risk assessment in place” and its anti-money laundering (AML) policies, procedures and controls “were unsuitable and therefore could not be implemented effectively.” Boylesports also “failed to comply with elements of the Money Laundering Regulations.”
In addition to the financial penalty, the UKGC has instructed Boylesports to ‘maintain the appointment’ of an “appropriately qualified” Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), who will be required to hold a Personal Management License (PML).
The MLRO will be required to undergo annual refresher training – and provide evidence to the UKGC of this top-up training – while all Boylesports’ PML holders, senior staff and key control staff must also participate in “outsourced” AML training. Boylesports as a company has been ordered to continue its review of “the effectiveness and implementation” of its AML policies, procedures and controls.
UKGC exec director Richard Watson offered few additional details on what led to Boylesports coming under the regulatory microscope, saying only that it was “vital” for gambling licensees to employ proper AML practices and the UKGC “will continue to take tough action against operators who do not.”
Boylesports, which the UKGC said cooperated with the investigation and copped to its shortcomings from the start, has in recent years realized its ambition of significantly raising its UK profile through the acquisition of local retail betting operations.
The UKGC has been ratcheting up the financial penalties against its licensees, reporting last week that the total sum imposed on operators in the regulator’s most recent fiscal year was over 50% higher than the year before.