Vivaro Limited (Vbet), B2C sports betting and iGaming affiliate of BetConstruct will make a regulatory settlement payment of £337,631 ($412,000/€381,000) to the UK Gambling Commission. This is as a result of player protection and anti-money laundering (AML) flaws found during an examination in 2020 and 2021.
Regulatory Settlement in Lieu of Penalty
Instead of paying a penalty package, Vbet will pay the regulatory settlement. The money will be used for socially conscious causes, with £302,500 going to National Gambling Strategy programs to support problem gambling research and care. An extra £35,131 will be divested voluntarily, and £15,606.50 will go toward the expenses of the Commission’s inquiry.
A BetConstruct spokesman issued a statement in which she claimed that the Commission had underlined in its evaluation that Vivaro had cooperated with the inquiry and taken proactive and timely measures to resolve the concerns revealed.
The AML procedures and regulations used by Vbet were found to have severe flaws by the Gambling Commission. Customers might deposit substantial sums of money before “know your customer” checks were triggered, according to the regulator, who said that AML procedures were excessively stringent.
Furthermore, Vbet did not provide enough instructions on how staff members should confirm the sources of cash and what proof of payment should be asked.
The regulator noted that although some checks were done, they were not adequate until the customer met the “very high AML threshold” set by the licensee, adding that the trigger levels for AML checks were also considered too high.
What AML is and its Role in the Online Casino Industry
Anti-money laundering (AML) policies are implemented to stop the unauthorized use of financial systems for money laundering and other financial crimes. The broader fight against organized crime, corruption, and terrorism must include AML measures.
They ensure that financial institutions and other regulated organizations, such as online casinos and gambling portals, keep an eye on their operations for any potential illegal activity and alert the appropriate authorities to suspicious transactions.
AML controls are essential at online casinos and gambling portals for preventing the facilitation of criminal activities like money laundering and terrorism funding through the use of online gambling platforms.
Large sums of money are collected and held by online casinos and gambling websites, making them an excellent target for criminals looking to utilize these platforms to hide the source of their money.
The integrity of the financial system is safeguarded, and the likelihood that these monies would be used for illegal activities is reduced thanks to AML safeguards that help guarantee these platforms are not used to purge criminal proceeds.
AML policies give online casinos and web gambling portals a crucial tool to bolster player protection in addition to financial advantages. Online casinos and gambling portals may help prevent players from becoming victims of financial crimes by doing customer due diligence, monitoring transactions, and reporting any suspicious behaviors.
In this way, by making the gaming environment safer and more secure for players, AML measures also help to enhance the overall gaming experience and increase customer trust in the platform.
Social Responsibility Failings
Furthermore, it was discovered that Vbet had broken various social responsibility laws. The business did not appropriately account for high-velocity expenditure and duration of play, nor did it have enough safeguards to safeguard newly registered patrons.
Moreover, according to the Commission, the company failed to carry out necessary restrictions to safeguard new customers, failing to consider high spending and long gameplay habits. One case was that of a player having deposited a heft of £4000 over the short span of 4 days.
It was thus concluded by the regulator that there was a deficient level of record keeping and lack of assessment when it came to responsible gambling channels. This was evident when it was discovered that the provider hadn’t evaluated spending habits compared to players’ income.
Additionally, the regulator determined that Vbet relied on clients’ net gaming positions by letting them pass checks based on prior earnings. One customer offered a bank statement with a balance of more than £270,000 and claimed it resulted from winnings from a different betting service. The commission said that Vbet did not adequately consider the dangers related to recycled wins.
The Gambling Commission said that Vbet neglected to consider the dangers associated with wagering using funds obtained through cryptocurrency trading, which it classifies as a “high-risk” product.
Vbet Loses and Regains Swedish License
In September 2021, the Swedish authority revoked Vivaro’s license since it hadn’t started doing business a year after getting it. The operator stated two reasons for the delay: personnel concerns and the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, the ruling was overturned the following month by the nation’s Administrative Court as a result of the company’s successful appeal.
Vbet’s regulatory settlement of £337,631 results from anti-money laundering and player protection failings discovered during a recent investigation by the UK Gambling Commission. The funds will be directed towards socially responsible causes, with the majority going towards socially responsible causes.