Malta and Poland based operator, Genesis Global Limited, has been hit with a £3.8 million (€4.5 million) fine after having its licence to operate in the UK suspended by the country’s gambling regulator, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The fine and licence suspension came after enquiries by the regulator revealed “significant social responsibility and money laundering failures” by the firm.
The licence was first suspended in mid-2020, but only three months later this suspension was lifted, following significant compliance improvements – however, investigations continued, and this week the UKGC announced the significant fine.
The regulator appears to be using Genesis Global as an example for other non-compliant operators, with Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, warning: “All gambling businesses should pay very close attention to this case.
“The Commission will use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety and that extends to stopping a business from actually operating.”
Social responsibility failures cited by the regulator include:
- Not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions with, or placing any effective restrictions on the account of, a customer who spent £245,000 (€295,000) in three months. Three days into their relationship Genesis knew the customer was an NHS nurse earning £30,000 (€47,000) a year.
- Not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions or establishing affordability of a customer who lost £197,000 (€237,000) over six months. The same day the customer closed her account, stating she wanted to spend more time with her family, she was allowed to open another account with the business and deposit £200 (€240).
- Not carrying out any meaningful responsible gambling interactions or establishing affordability of a customer who lost £234,000 (€281,000) in a six week period.
Money laundering failures, according to the regulator included:
- Requested source of funds only after one customer had lost £209,000 (€251,000). Prior to this Genesis had estimated the customer was earning £111,000 (€133,000) a year because the consumer had told them they were a director and this was the average salary of directors in London. The operator failed to take into account the company was dormant and that there would be a wide range of director salaries. Genesis also failed to verify information supplied by the customer to substantiate the level of spend.
- A customer was allowed to deposit over £1,300,000 (€1,560,000) and lose £600,000 (€720,000) before carrying out sufficient source of funds checks. The customer provided Genesis with documentation including a bank statement which showed deposits into the account to the value of £23,000 (€28,000) and payments out to the value of £27,000 (€32,000) – clearly not enough to support the level of gambling
- A customer was allowed to lose £107,000 (€129,000) over six months without carrying out sufficient source of funds checks. Genesis relied on assertion that the customer’s money came from an allowance from parents who owned factories overseas and failed to verify this information. The customer provided a number of bank statements, however, they did not evidence any source of income but did show transactions with other gambling operators.
Genesis Global – which runs 14 websites including genesiscasino.com, casinoplanet.com and casinocruise.com – has also been given a warning by the Commission and told it must undergo further extensive auditing.
Despite the sanction, the UKGC did acknowledge that the licensee co-operated with the investigation throughout and took corrective steps to address the identified failings.
Issuing a warning to the wider gambling industry, the regulator said it will “use all tools at its disposal to ensure consumer safety.”