The wait for the UK Government White Paper on gambling reform continues. In the meantime, regulatory body, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have taken action against Vivaro Limited, trading as Vbet.
They will be making a £337,631 regulatory settlement to the UKGC. This is because of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failings.
This is the latest of a series of regulatory settlements that have taken place in the past couple of years. The UK Government may be taking their time to reveal their plans for reforming gambling industry including these top online casinos but the UKGC are becoming increasingly stricter towards those who licenses have been granted to.
This latest regulatory settlement is nowhere near as high as the £17 million regulatory settlement that Entain had to make last year.
This latest UKGC action refers to a period between October 2020 and June 2021. It was found that the procedures Vivaro Limited had in place for the prevention of money laundering and the promotion of safer gambling wasn’t as efficient as the UKGC would like to see license holders carrying out.
The licenses that the UKGC issue all contain conditions and codes of practice. Not complying with them leads to situations such as this. The UKGC say that their investigation revealed “significant weaknesses” when it came to dealing with AML.
These included not giving sufficient guidance to their employees when dealing with verifying where customers are getting their funds from. They also didn’t satisfactorily explain the supporting documents that customers should supply.
The failings uncovered by the UKGC investigation found that customers of the site were able to make large deposits of cash before Vbet began ‘Know Your Customer’ checks. Also, there was a problem with too high spending thresholds.
They were also setting thresholds that were based on how much was being won by a customer, not their income. This again meant that Vbet customers could deposit large amounts before the site paid more attention to what was taking place.
For example, one customer made deposits to the value of £14,850 in just a couple of months. This was carried out without Vbet finding out the source of the funds.
When eventually the UK Government does publish its White Paper on reforming the Gambling Act 2005, stricter checks on where gamblers acquire the amounts they wager are expected to be included.
It’s a controversial move that the British Gaming Council don’t fully approve of. Their view is why should those who display no problems with their gambling have to undergo such checks.
Vbet also has gambling licences in Malta, Sweden and France and there are other ongoing licence applications. Their sportsbook covers over 120 sports
Even when some customers made large deposits and then soon lost those amounts, Vbet did not take action. The UKGC were also not impressed with the record keeping practices employed by Vbet. There was also no way in which they could check if customers were using the various responsible gambling tools on the site.
Another area in which the UKGC was critical in their use of cryptocurrencies. Opinions on these payment methods vary from regulatory body to regulatory body. While the Malta Gaming Authority are now allowing Vbet to use cryptocurrencies as a payment method, the UKGC disapproves. In their opinion, cryptocurrencies are a “high-risk” product.