iGaming Regulatory Gossip (26 Jan 2022)

Tune in for more iGaming regulations including a look at the Curacao licensing regs, a whopping UKGC fine & ICE 2023 fundraising! (Photo by Wokandapix on Pixabay)

In the news today we look at the new Curacao licensing regulations and investigate whether the announcement made in 2022 to improve its regulatory controls is in full force.

Plus, on the subject of casino regulations, there’s been another multi-million fine dished out by the UK Gambling Commission, which leads us back to whether the size of these fines is destroying the country’s iGaming industry. Check out the ‘Plans to Destroy Another Billion GBP Industry’ news piece.

Of course, casinos need to toe the line, but this new fine dished out to InTouch Games is a monstrous £6.1 million (€6.94m / C$10m / A$10.6m / NZ$11.7m). If you live in India or South Africa, that’s a fine that translates to a whopping 130m Rand ‘or’ ₹615m. Some crazy numbers!

And just for good measure, we’ll take a sneak peek at other news recently covered here on Casinoplusbonus covering the ICE London Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ). It is close to surpassing last year’s figure to raise money for responsible gambling.

Catching Up on the New Curacao Licensing Rules

It is now more than two years since we announced that the Curacao licensing authority would revamp its rules. That report came via our ‘Curaçao Online Casino Licensing Revamp’. However, what has happened since the announcement?

Although most Curacao-licenced online casinos are happily plugging away at increasing their market share, in the background, there is still some confusion as to exactly when the new changes will fully come into effect. Maybe island life over in the Caribbean is so chill, there is no urgency to bring the chances into full effect.

Here are some of the changes expected to come into effect:

  • All casinos must offer responsible gambling tools: In the past, there wasn’t much emphasis on giving players the chance to set deposit limits or self-exclude. However, I have seen quite a few online casinos begin to either apply tools under member profiles or offer these services via live chat support.
  • B2B & B2C Licencing: I am not exactly sure what is happening here. However, if you check out the likes of Evolution, Amusnet and Playtech and a few other software providers, they are suddenly showing a Curacao licence under their lists of licenced jurisdictions. It seems the B2B side is open and ready for licence applications.
  • Three Employees in Key Roles Living on Curacao: This is something I have seen come into action when looking into the operator’s ownership. What tends to happen is the casino names another Curacao licenced company as ‘Statutory Director’, which then has at least three named persons located in Curacao named as ‘Statutory Directors’.
  • Improved Money Laundering Monitoring: I couldn’t say how well the licensing authority has performed on this point. Unlike the UKGC and MGA, which are the two main licensing authorities we cover, the Curacao licensing body does not issue news coverage of any fines it dishes out to operators that fail to comply with AML regulations. This one is in the wind I am afraid.

Improved Website: Exactly a year ago, the Cuarcao licensing body changed its website to reflect some of the new changes intended, and you can read the full story on how the Curacao licensing is evolving here…

Four Curacao Master Licensing Options

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on pexels
  • Cyberluck Curaçao
  • Antillephone
  • Curaçao Interactive Licensing (CeG)
  • Gaming Curaçao

UKGC Fines InTouch Games £6.1 million

InTouch Games is in little danger of this fine sending it into insolvency as I checked the UK Companies House public accounts records. It paid £19.4 million in gaming tax last year alone and £15.4 million in dividends. This company is a monster. The operating profit in the year ending July 2020 statement of comprehensive income was £24.7 million.

With all that being said, no company wants to stomach a £6.1 million fine. It seems the message is clear from the UKGC – ‘Toe the line or face a potential company-busting fine’. The full penalty issued here by the UKGC states several breaches by the company based out of Birmingham UK.

  • Social Responsibility Breaches: In one case, InTouch Games flagged a customer as high risk, but only decided to contact the player seven weeks later.
  • Failure to Check Customer Info: One player claimed to earn £6,000 per month. This was after flagging the player for gambling during unsociable hours and excessive spending. It seems InTouch Games took the customer’s word for it.
  • AML Failures: The company did not check the source of funds of a customer who gambled away £10,000 over 12 months. A rule that must be strictly enforced under the UKGC framework.

Recently Genesis Global went under, and the cause was quite possibly a UKGC fine. Subsequently the operator exited the UK market joining others on the way out the door like Mansion, LVBet, and Energy Casino. Except, unlike the other operators mentioned, Genesis Global didn’t make the cut in other markets and now the company is in court filing for insolvency.

See the Genesis Global Liquidates news story for more info. That story also includes another UKGC fine dished out to Vivaro Limited, which now must pay £337,631.

InTouch Games Fines

Photo by Sarah Agnew on Unsplash
  • 2019 – £2 million
  • 2021 – £3.4 million
  • 2022 – £6.1 million

Total Intouch Games UKGC Fines
£11.5 million

ICE London 2023 CPZ Closes in on Fundraising Target

This year’s ICE London Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) is set to be the largest yet with twenty stands in the 2023 event versus last year’s 14 stands. That isn’t the only record being broken as the CPZ is also there to raise money to donate to non-profits that focus on helping those with problem gambling issues. And the plan is to beat 2022’s number of £46,000. Right now, there is £40,000 in the kitty and ICE London 2023 isn’t due to kick off until 6 7 February, so there’s still plenty of time!

Who benefits from monies raised? Safer gambling charities (non-profits) such as GamCare, the Responsible Gambling Council, Better Change and other non-profits all receive a share.

Who has pledged money so far?

  • Kindred Group: £5,000
  • Flutter: £5,000
  • IGT: £5,000
  • Betsson: £5,000
  • Greentube: £5,000
  • Les Ambassadeurs: £10,000
  • Unnamed: £5,000