The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced details regarding an investigation into the gambling business of International Multi-Media Entertainments (IMME). IMME is an Isle of Man-based company that runs the betting website lotteries.com.
GC Reveals Conclusion Regarding IMME Investigation
The investigation was launched last year, but its conclusion was published on Wednesday this week. Coinciding with the launch of the investigation, the regulator also suspended IMME’s operating license. After looking into the operator’s gambling business, the GC found “significant suitability, social responsibility and money laundering failures.”
“We will not tolerate gambling businesses behaving in the way IMME did.”
Helen Venn, executive director at the Gambling Commission
GC’s executive director, Helen Venn, said in a statement that operators who breach the rules the way IMME did, will not be tolerated. She stressed that every operator in the country must abide by the established anti-money laundering and social responsibility rules. With that in mind, despite the investigation and the found breaches, the GC did not impose a monetary sanction against the operator.
“There is no room in Britain’s gambling industry for operators who fail in the way IMME have,”
According to Venn, any such breaches will result from tough action from the GC. She added that upon investigating, the GC “discovered failures that would have inevitably led to complete license revocation had the operator not surrendered it.” In conclusion, Venn explained that gambling operators who breach the rules the way IMME did, are not welcome in GB.
Investigation Finds Responsible Gambling, Suitability and AML Failures
The GC’s investigation found that IMME wasn’t able to supply sufficient evidence for safer gambling interactions with its customers. An example that was pointed out states that a 78-year-old consumer spent £63,951 ($85,700) for only three months. During that period, IMME did not record safer gambling interactions with the user. Another consumer, age 74, deposited £9,379 ($12,500) in eight days but wasn’t contacted regarding responsible gambling.
The investigation uncovered that IMME targeted primarily the elderly. In fact, the investigation found that 75% of the company’s customers were age 60. What is even more worrying is that another 20% were over age 80. Thus, the GC concluded the “demographic seems disproportionately focused on older people and IMME had not considered the potential vulnerabilities of their customer base.” An example for the suitability concerns given by the Commission reveals that IMME sales agents contacted the customers multiple times a day.
On the other hand, the Commission’s investigation found money-laundering breaches. At the start of the investigation, a user was identified that bet £23,839 ($31,900) in five months. What is more surprising is that the user was 100 years old. Despite the big spending, IMME did not collect a source of funds (SOF) from the user.