The UK Gambling Commission has published the results of its investigation into International Multi-Media Entertainments (IMME) revealing that the company has surrendered its license to operate in the UK.
Prior to the investigation, IMME had held a real event betting license that allowing it to provide customers with the ability to bet on the outcome of international lotteries. This was done through its website lotteries.com while staff also called potential customers over the phone.
An investigation into IMME’s business practices was officially launched in January 2020 while its license was then suspended in March of the same year due to concerns raised over compliance and anti-money laundering procedures. The license remained suspended throughout the rest of the Commission’s investigation.
The Commission’s investigation revealed ‘significant suitability, social responsibility and money laundering failures.’
Issues raised concerning the company’s suitability as an operator included:
- Customers called repeatedly by IMME staff with one elderly woman called several times a week
- Customers called every 30-40 minutes until the phone was answered
- Elderly people targeted without consideration of their vulnerability (75% of customers over 60)
- Multiple complaints to authorities about IMME products and services
- Staff using aliases when interacting with customers
The investigation also uncovered serious social responsibility failings such as:
- No adequate records of safer gambling interactions with customers
- No interaction with 78-year-old customer who lost £63,951 in three months
- 74-year-old customer allowed to deposit £9,379 in eight days without any red flags raised
The operator also failed to identify the source of funds for several customers who had made increasingly large deposits over a short period of time.
Speaking of the investigation Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, said:
“We will not tolerate gambling businesses behaving in the way IMME did. Gambling operators in Britain must follow our social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules, and a failure to do this will lead to us taking tough action.
We suspended IMME’s licence following initial concerns and – having delved even deeper into the business’s activities — discovered failures that would have inevitably led to complete licence revocation had the operator not surrendered it. There is no room in Britain’s gambling industry for operators who fail in the way IMME have.”