Betting and gaming operator 888 has been fined £9.4m by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) following failures in the firm’s AML and social responsibility approach. 

An investigation established that the firm has failed to adhere to social responsibility and anti money laundering standards. 

This marks the second time that the Group has been accused of irregular practices in the UK, having been given £7.8m in penalties for “failing vulnerable customers” back in 2017.

In the latest development, the UKGC states that 888 had been performing financial checks on players only after they had already deposited $40,000.

Another offence the regulator highlighted is a lack of engagement between the firm and a customer who gambled a total of £37,000 in a period of six weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the UKGC, 888 was aware of his £1,400m income but nevertheless gave him a monthly deposit cap of £1,300. 

Regarding the AML shortcomings, the UKGC claims that an 888 patron was allowed to spend £65,835 over five months without being checked for any sources of funds. 

Furthermore, the Group is also accused of accepting verbal assurances of employment status and income, relying on open-source information to perform Source of Funds (SOF) checks.

Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, commented: “The circumstances of the last enforcement action may be different but both cases involve failing consumers – and this is something that is not acceptable.

“Today’s fine is one of our largest to date, and all should be clear that if there is a repeat of the failures at 888 then we have to seriously consider the suitability of the operator to uphold the licensing objectives and keep gambling safe and crime-free.

“Consumers in Britain deserve to know that when they gamble, they are participating in a leisure activity where operators play their part in keeping them safe and are carrying out checks to ensure money is crime-free.”

The betting operator has also issued a statement, assuring that it has undertaken procedures to enforce a better regulatory abidance ensure full compliance with UK gambling laws.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, added: “We recognise our responsibility to make gambling safer and regret that previous implementation of our processes failed to meet required standards in the UK.

“We accept the findings of the UKGC’s investigation of some of 888’s former policies and procedures and have taken immediate appropriate action to improve and address the failings.”