The UK Gambling Commission is hitting TonyBet, an Estonian-based operator, with a £442,750 ($547,043.75 USD) fine for a laundry list of anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility failings. It’s big hit from the Commission and a clear warning to other operators that the UK’s top gambling regulator is very serious about the business of compliance enforcement.
At the heart of the Gambling Commission’s ruling against TonyBet, operator of tonybet.co.uk, is a laundry list of issues with the company’s terms and conditions, particularly when it comes to withdrawals.
For reasons that are not at all clear, TonyBet’s T&C states that the operator can request copies of a player’s identification at the time of withdrawal, but not earlier in the process. The Commission ruled that this policy could impact a player’s ability to access their own money. TonyBet also stated, to the Commission’s chagrin, that it could confiscate funds if players didn’t comply with AML document requests within 30 days.
TonyBet was also found to be not in compliance with regulations requiring operators to identify the source of player funds to help prevent money laundering and terrorist activities.
UK gambling regulators also found that Tonybet was not properly watching for potential problem gamblers and didn’t correctly interact with them when they were identified.
Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations for the Commission commented on the issue saying, “Not only does this case illustrate our drive to clamp down on anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, but also highlights action we will take against gambling businesses who fail to be fair and open with customers.”
Besides the fine, regulators are also requiring TonyBet to hire a third-party auditor to ensure that these same AML and social responsibility failings do not occur again.