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Gambling Commission hits online casinos with £4.5m penalty

A woman uses an internet gambling website to play online roulette.

The Gambling Commission has slapped fines of up to £4.5m ($5.8m) on four online casino companies, as part of the government agency’s investigation into the sector.

The companies were penalised for failing to put effective measures in place to prevent money laundering and safeguard consumers from gambling harm.

InTouch Games Limited (ITG) - which trades under such online domains as MrSpin.co.uk and Spin247.co.uk - was fined £2.2m.

The regulator said that ITG had no appropriate policies and controls relating to the managing of its customers “to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.”

Betit Operations Limited, which trades as kaboo.com and Highroller.com, will pay £1.4m.

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The Commission said the company carried out inadequate record checks on customers with the same approach adopted for all, irrespective of their level of risk.

Two other online casino operators, MT Secure Trade and BestBet Limited, will pay £700,000 and £230,972 respectively.

The Gambling Commission began its investigation into 123 online operators 18 months ago.

The regulator said that 45 operators were told to submit an action plan to raise their standards.

Five operators have had their UK gambling licences revoked altogether, meaning they can no longer conduct business with consumers in Britain.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online every month can do so safely.

“But our work will not stop here. As a regulator, we will continue to set and enforce standards that the industry must comply with to protect consumers.