Regulatory Settlements of £1.3 million for Annexio and Rank Digital
Two high-profile gambling operators have agreed to pay a combined £1.3 million in regulatory settlements. This comes after the Gambling Commission discovered evidence of both failing in social responsibility.
Annexio, operator of Lotto Go, and Mecca Bingo owner Rang Digital will each pay over £600,000 for the failings.
Rank Digital in Breach of Licence Conditions
Rank Digital operates some of the best-known gambling sites around, including maccabingo.com and grosvenorcasino.com. They will now pay £700,557 after a regulatory review conducted by the Gambling Commission in May 2021 found they had failed to comply with several aspects of their licence conditions.
The Commission’s review found Rank Digital to breach paragraphs 1 and 2 of Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.4.1. The Code requires licensees to interact with their customers in a way that minimises their risk of gambling-related harm.
The Commission found that the triggers used by Rank Digital to identify harmful play weren’t always effective. They were also found to be too reliant on a 30-day net less threshold of £1,000. Additionally, the regulator found Rank to rely too much on open-source information that was not corroborated against independent sources to set deposit limits.
Rank was also found to be in breach of part of the Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.9.1, which says licensees who allow more than one account per customer should ensure all accounts are monitored for cross-account activity.
The operator was also in breach when it came to self-exclusion. They were deemed to have taken insufficient measures to ensure that customers who had self-excluded on one of its sites would also be blocked from playing at their other brands.
In all, 1,416 accounts created on Mecca Bingo or Bella Casino were matched to a Rank Digital self-exclusion. The Commission and the company have now agreed on a £700,557 settlement proposal.
Annexio Breached Anti-Money Laundering Rules
Annexio was found by the Commission to have been in breach of both anti-money laundering and social responsibility rules. This relates to their lottogo.com site after a review that began in April 2021.
The Commission found the operator to have specifically breached a licence condition stating that licence holders need to conduct assessments of the risks to their business being used for money laundering or terrorist financing.
It was found that while Annexio did conduct an anti-money laundering risk assessment, the Commission believes it did not sufficiently address certain risks. Unjustified delays were also discovered in Annexio completing due diligence reports.
The Commission found that one Annexio customer’s deposit limit was lifted erroneously before a due diligence check had been completed.
Annexio was also found to have failed in terms of social responsibility in interacting with customers at potential risk of harm. On one occasion, a player even requested to reduce their limits, yet the operator did nothing about it.
As a result, Annexio implemented new measures. Now, customers depositing more than £10,000 without proper proof of affordability would no longer be permitted to deposit until the proof is produced.
Settlements Follow Past Fines for Operator
These settlements follow a huge fine for a subsidiary of Rank in the past. Fully £5.8 million was paid by Daub Alderney last year after an investigation found serious social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings.
Most of the shortcomings occurred before the Rank Group took over Daub Alderney back in 2019, though checks were not satisfactorily completed.