Danish Gambling Watchdog Warns 888 to Strengthen AML Controls
Online gambling operator 888 Holdings was caught breaching Denmark’s money laundering laws by failing to report a customer’s suspicious transactions to competent authorities and to address the issue in a timely manner.
In a probe into the matter, the Danish Gambling Authority, Spillemyndigheden, established that the company has run afoul of Section 25 of Denmark’s Money Laundering Act.
Under that particular section, companies conducting activities in Denmark must harness principles and rules relating to their record keeping and risk assessment for the effective prevention of money laundering, terror funding, and other financial crimes.
In relation to Section 25, 888 was found to have failed to probe suspiciously large transactions and related activities demonstrated by a Danish gambling customer. The customer’s gambling patterns showed questionable economic and legal purpose, it also became known.
Spillemyndigheden discovered that the 888 player spent more than DKK1 million (just under $150,000) over the course of three months. The operator performed background checks on the customer and requested documentation that would have explained how they were able to deposit DKK600,000 within a couple of days.
The player refused to provide documentation proving that their source of income was legal. However, 888 let them gamble for another month before closing their account.
Regulator Orders 888 to Strengthen AML Practices
Spillemyndigheden also found that the gambling operator failed to report the incident to Denmark’s State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SØIK). Under the country’s Money Laundering Act, companies must promptly notify the SØIK about transactions and activities that could potentially be linked to money laundering.
888 admitted that it should have closed the player’s account much earlier and that it should have informed the SØIK about the incident.
The Gibraltar-headquartered online gambling operators holds two licenses from Spillemyndigheden – one permitting it to conduct sports betting activities and the other for online casino games, including poker.
The Danish Gambling Authority has instructed 888 to strengthen its anti-money laundering policies and practices so that it can be better prepared to address potential money laundering incidents and to notify the SØIK about any similar cases that might occur in future.
Spillemyndigheden is allowed to issue such requests to its licensees under Section 66 of the Money Laundering Act.
888 is no stranger to regulatory trouble. In 2017, the company was slapped with a £7.8 million fine by the UK Gambling Commission for multiple failures relating to the protection of problem gamblers. The penalty package was one of the biggest ever issued by the UK gambling watchdog.
News about 888 failings in Denmark emerged as the government of the Scandinavian nation announced an 8% hike in the tax paid by locally licensed online gaming and betting operators. The new rate will tax companies at 28% on their revenue, up from the 20% current levy. The tax increase will become effective from 2021.
Source: Danish regulator warns 888 over AML failings
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