Last week, we spoke of the current investigation that could cost several UK gambling groups their license to operate within the UK due to links to money laundering. However, that number is now growing all the time, with the latest reports linking as many as 17 groups to anti-money laundering and player protection issues.
While casinos have yet to be named, 5 of the more likely to face a license review which could cause major issues for their ability to operate in the UK. According to experts, this is only the tip of the iceberg as the industry begins to witness a massive cracking down on their operations in a bid to try and curb problem gambling.
One leading expert, speaking about the issue, was Richard Williams, the Online Gambling Solicitor at Joelson, a UK law firm. Williams believes that this is just the start of a wide-sweeping investigation and clean-up of the UK gaming scene.
In the post above, Williams said that: “I expect that this is likely to be the tip of an iceberg because I envisage that the Commission started its investigation at the top (in terms of operator size) and will be working its way downwards.
“For those operators who have not yet been investigated, they should sit up, take note and obtain some urgent advice to rectify any compliance failings.”
It’s going to need a major sharpening up and change in attitude across the entire industry, he also warns. To reinforce the point, Williams said that: “In relation to customer interaction, operators are going to have to be far more proactive to interact, ask questions and intervene, where they suspect problem gambling behavior.
“Intervening to stop good profit generators (e.g. VIP customers) gambling is going to be difficult, but it’s a legal requirement and cannot be ignored. There is no doubt that operators will have to toe the line or they will face revocation of their licenses.
“Doing the job properly will hit profits for sure, but in these days of tightening regulation and a media witch hunt against gambling operators, having a business is far better than having no business at all.”
This is a crucial point for UK casino gaming, as more scrutiny comes down on various keep what you earn offers and promotional deals. Links to online crime and money laundering is only going to further impair the industry from being able to grow at the rate many would have expected it capable of.
It’s likely to lead to a period of uncertainty for operators, too; creating a period where regulation will change drastically.