UK: TonyBet to pay $547K fine for lack of “transparent terms”, social responsibility and AML failures

The UK Gambling Commission announced Wednesday that online gambling operator TonyBet will pay a GBP 442,750 ($547.427) penalty and receive a warning for “failing to have fair and transparent terms,” and for failing to follow social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules

The company – which operates – will also have to undergo a third-party audit to assess whether it is effectively implementing anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility requirements, the regulator said in a statement.

Unfair terms published on TonyBet’s website included stating that TonyBet may request identification documents for “all withdrawals” while not having insisted on those same checks earlier in the business relationship, “potentially hampering withdrawals but not deposits,” according to the watchdog.

The UKGC also noted that, under TonyBet’s terms, winnings could be confiscated where consumers failed to provide AML documentation within 30 days; and that accounts are considered dormant after six months of inactivity when accounts can only be considered dormant after 12 months of inactivity.

As for social responsibility failures, these included failing to identify customers who may be at risk of experiencing harm associated with gambling, and failing to interact with players who may be at risk of experiencing problem gambling.

Anti-money laundering failures included failing to conduct adequate risk assessments of the business being used for money laundering and terrorist financing, and failing to ensure they have appropriate policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations, said: “Not only does this case illustrate our drive to clamp down on anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, but also highlights action we will take against gambling businesses who fail to be fair and open with customers.”

The news comes only days after the regulator fined Vivaro Limited, which trades as vbet. The company will pay a GBP 337,631 ($413,974) regulatory settlement following a series of compliance failings. An investigation found the company’s processes failed at preventing money laundering and ensuring safer gambling. The money will go to socially responsible causes. 

The regulator found that, between October 2020 and June 2021, Vivaro failed to comply with certain License Conditions and Codes of Practice; did not implement proper Anti-Money Laundering policies, procedures and controls; and showed deficiencies in its responsible gambling policies and practices.