Following a lengthy catalogue of warnings and fines from the UK Gambling Commission, time has finally run out for the Park Lane Casino in Mayfair.
Silverbond Enterprises Ltd, who operate the London property, have had their licence revoked by the UKGC as the authority believes that the newly-named management at the casino would not have been granted a licence had they been in charge at the time that the original operating application had been made.
The executive director at the Gambling Commission, Helen Venn, said: “We revoked this licence because we are not satisfied as to the source of funds (SOF) used to acquire and support the Licensee at the time of the change of corporate control, or to whom future profits of the Licensee would be paid.
“We also identified concerns with the suitability of the new controller because of its unsatisfactory history in providing information requested as part of our enquiries.”
With the capital in COVID lockdown, Park Lane Casino has already essentially ceased to trade, although the licence revocation officially comes into being on November 18.
A Catalogue of Incompetence
It would be amazing if the figureheads behind Silverbond decided to appeal the decision based upon the litany of warnings and breaches they have failed to act upon.
In January 2019, they received a formal warning from the Gambling Commission after breaching a number of specific conditions of their licence, which included an inability to adhere to due diligence policies and questions about its compliance with anti-money laundering and social responsibility practises.
Did they heed the advice? Well, nine months later, they were fined £1.8 million and had additional conditions attached to the licence following a further investigation into their operations.
Their failings in the area of social responsibility included an inability to recognise potential problem gambling behaviours among their customers, which included threatening violence on staff and the damaging of casino property, and also failing to act when player wanted to raise the maximum limits in place.
Silverbond also failed to adequately improve their anti-money laundering procedures, hence the fine metered out on them.
Back in 2016, Silverbond was again investigated by the UKGC and a licence review was undertaken as part of Section 116 (2)(c)(i) of the Gambling Act 2005, which queried whether the brand was able to legally conform to licensing requirements.
Again, it was money laundering that was the major concern, with particular concerns about operations at the Park Lane Casino. It was alleged that the operator had entered into a relationship of some kind with three specific customers, who were allowed to use a cheque cashing system in 2014 and 2015.
There was no insinuation that Silverbond were engaged in money laundering themselves, more that they perhaps hadn’t done enough to prevent it on their premises.
Before the Commission concluded their investigation and acted upon it, the Park Lane Club admitted their failings and had already begun to introduce measures to tackle money laundering on site, and in the end they were able to continue operating.
However, four years later, and a number of continued breaches simply could not be overlooked.