This settlement is the outcome of an internal review conducted by 888 subsidiary Virtual Global Digital Services earlier this year, which unveiled several deficiencies in their Know Your Customer (KYC) and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) practices. These shortcomings prompted the company to take corrective measures and cooperate with the regulatory authorities to address the issues.
The Operator Addressed Its Shortcomings
Virtual Global initiated its internal compliance investigation in January after 888 suspended VIP activities for select markets. The company expressed significant concerns regarding insufficient KYC and AML practices, prompting it to introduce updated policies and procedures regarding its risk assessment process. Although these efforts were successful, the Gibraltar regulator imposed a significant fine due to Virtual Global’s past failings.
According to the recent settlement, the 888 subsidiary must pay £2.9 million ($3.7 million). A portion of the settlement funds will benefit the Centre of Excellence for Responsible Gaming at the University of Gibraltar in its efforts to combat problem gambling in the region. The Gibraltar Gaming Commissioner decreed that the fine was suitable punishment and would take no further action against the offending operator.
“888 has enhanced its policies and procedures in remediating the identified historical deficiencies. The Gambling Commissioner and Licensing Authority consider this matter closed.”
Gibraltar Gambling Commission
The Gibraltar regulator’s verdict aligns with its mission to ensure its licensees follow robust KYC and EDD practices. These measures are essential for verifying the identity of customers, preventing money laundering, and ensuring adherence to responsible gambling practices. Such fines should demonstrate the government’s ability to enforce regulations and hopefully contribute to the region’s removal from the FATF greylist.
888 Retains Its Significant Momentum
Virtual Global’s swift actions to remedy the identified shortcomings demonstrate the company’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and maintaining the highest standards of responsible gambling and player protection. Despite 888’s past tensions with the Gibraltar regulator, the operator has been willing to collaborate with the authorities and rectify any issues.
The Virtual Global settlement marks the second high-profile fine 888 had to pay in recent months. Its $24 million penalty in the UK had significant repercussions, showcasing the need for more robust control over its subsidiaries. Despite these setbacks, 888 recorded impressive H1 growth, leveraging its substantial business synergies to excel in the highly competitive gambling market.
This substantial fine must remind all stakeholders in the online gambling sector about the importance of robust KYC and EDD procedures. By adhering to stringent compliance measures, companies can contribute to a safer and more transparent gambling environment for players and maintain the trust of regulatory authorities.