The parent company behind the likes of mfortune, SlotFactory and BonusBoss have been slapped with a £3.4 million fine after a UK Gambling Commission investigation revealed a catalogue of breaches.
The regulator’s auditing found that Intouch Games, which was established in the West Midlands back in 2001, has breached their code of conduct in a number of areas including social responsibility and anti-money laundering measures.
A fine of £3.4 million is a whopper even by the Gambling Commission’s standards, and reveals the extent to which Intouch have failed to meet the necessary requirements. They have been licensed to offer bingo and casino games since 2010, and were approved as a gambling software provider four years later.
In addition to the fine, Intouch have been imposed a new licence condition that means they will have to invest in an independent team of auditors to ensure they are continually meeting their requirements as far as the Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.
The executive director of the regulator, Richard Watson, warned other operators that the Commission remains diligent in their work.
“Through our challenging compliance and enforcement activity we will continue our work to raise standards in the industry and continue to hold failing operators to account.”
A Catalogue of Failings
To be fined more than £3 million, you know that Intouch Games have made a considerable mess of some of their responsibilities as a licensed operator and developer.
In a lengthy report, the Commission outlined those failings, which from a social responsibility perspective included a mis-use of their responsible gambling guidance to suggest a bonus would be paid if customers verified their account, failing to act in seven different cases where an individual was displaying problem gambling behaviour and failing to impose limits on those seven players.
In that latter case, the UKGC states that ‘if the licensee had followed its policy, it should have given more consideration to placing mandatory limits on customer accounts.’
Intouch were also found to have breached anti-money laundering regulations, having allowed some of their customers to use a crypto currency exchange as a payment platform, failing to conduct enhanced customer due diligence in some cases and failing to review ‘source of funds’ information even after individuals had submitted it.
Additionally, Intouch were held up on failings in delivering ‘fair and transparent’ terms and practices. That included a failure to state minimum and maximum deposit amounts in marketing materials for a bonus, and also failing to reveal the time limit in place for users to claim the bonus.
At the time of writing, nobody from Intouch Games had commented on the findings of the Commission’s investigation.
The UKGC has a five-step ladder of punishments, which is:
- A formal warning
- Imposing new/amending existing licence conditions
- Fines and financial penalties
- Licence suspension
- Licence revocation
Having breached their licence conditions, Intouch have suffered step two and three punishments….they certainly won’t want to risk the possibility of level four and five sanctions.