The UK Gambling Commission has fined Buzz Group Ltd following an investigation that revealed the operator had failed to protect its customers from the harms of problem gambling while also failing to implement anti-money-laundering procedures correctly.
Buzz Group Ltd, which operates buzzbingo.com, has received a formal warning and must now pay a fine of £780,000 (€917,890) for the breaches that occurred from October 2019 through to December 2020.
According to a statement released by the Commission, the operator’s social responsibility failures included:
- Financial trigger set incorrectly allowing one customer to deposit £22,400 in five days without any intervention by the operator.
- Systems not accurately identifying potential at-risk player.
- Failure to interact with customers who gambled aggressively over short periods of time. One such instance included a customer depositing and losing £12,400 during a six-day period. The operator’s only interaction showed that the customer was ‘coping well in COVID-19’
- Staff failed to follow the operator’s own customer interaction procedures for customers that were considered at risk.
Anti-money laundering failures included:
- Staff relying too heavily on the word of a customer when determining the source of funds for a large deposit. One instance saw staff accept a previous large win as a verifiable source of funds for a large deposit.
- multiple alerts needed before a customer AML interaction took place with one customer hitting nine AML alerts before their account was suspended.
- Insufficient and unclear records of AML interactions with customers.
Speaking of the warning and fine given to Buzz Group Ltd, Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, said:
“As a regulator we expect all operators to effectively implement policies and procedures which make gambling safe and crime-free. Every single gambling business should be aware that we do check that these are in place and are being adhered to. If they are not, we will take action.”