The GB Gambling Commission initiated its regulatory review of Lindar Media, the operator of online bingo and igaming platform MrQ, after conducting a compliance assessment in September 2022. The review revealed several weaknesses in the operator's implementation of AML policies and responsible gambling measures.
Detailed Findings of the Assessment
The Commission outlined specific shortcomings in Lindar Media's AML policies, including the company's practice of automatically assigning a low money laundering risk to new customers. It also found an overreliance on financial triggers to identify and manage these risks. This resulted in customers being able to deposit and lose more than £10,000, which the regulator termed as "not sufficiently risk-based."
Regarding social responsibility, Lindar Media failed to notify the Commission when its head of regulatory compliance left the position in June 2022. The company also failed to effectively identify customers at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.
Violations in Advertising Practices
The Commission also criticized Lindar Media for irresponsible advertising that used cartoon imagery with appeal to children, including images of Spiderman and King Kong. Although Lindar Media removed these ads upon discovering them, the damage was already done.
Lindar Media's Response
In response to the regulatory settlement, Lindar Media acknowledged that the breaches occurred during a period of growth for the business. CEO Savvas Fellas emphasized that the company has since improved its safer gambling policies and built "technology-driven models that underpin compliance and safer gambling promises to our players."
Allocation of Fines
The Commission has decided that the £690,947 fine will be directed towards socially responsible causes, ensuring that the penalty serves a greater good.
Comprehensive Regulatory Review Uncovers Failings
The hefty fine is a cautionary tale for online gaming operators, emphasizing the need for robust AML and social responsibility measures. With the rapidly growing online gambling sector, regulatory bodies like the GB Gambling Commission are increasingly vigilant in ensuring operators adhere to all license conditions and codes of practice. Lindar Media's case highlights the consequences of non-compliance and serves as a lesson for the broader industry.