Gibraltar’s gambling regulator has announced that it will review the outcome of 888’s internal investigation.
Gibraltar.- The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC) has issued a response following 888 Holdings‘ decision to close its Middle East VIP business due to compliance failings. 888 is licensed in the British overseas territory and has its headquarters there.
The news comes as Gibraltar continues to face close scrutiny after it was placed on the FATF greylist of untrustworthy jurisdictions last year. The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner has been informed of 888’s AML and KYC failings and said it would be “reviewing and discussing the outcome of the internal investigation in due course”.
It noted that 888 had assured it that “all relevant customer accounts have been suspended whilst the internal investigation is carried out” and that the company has “given a full commitment to regulatory transparency in respect of this matter”.
It concluded: “It is too early to say what the regulatory outcome will be, but on the known facts, and because of the level of commitment to resolution, licence suspension or revocation is highly unlikely.”
Yesterday also saw the announcement of the departure of 888 Holdings CEO of four years Itai Pazner. The company announced that non-executive chair Lord Mendelsohn will step in as executive chair and that Andria Vidler has been named chair of the ESG committee. It stressed that the compliance failings were isolated to one region. No details were provided on specific countries.
Mendelsohn said: “The board and I take the group’s compliance responsibilities incredibly seriously. When we were alerted to issues with some of 888’s VIP customers, the board took decisive action. We will be uncompromising in our approach to compliance as we build a strong and sustainable business.”
Meanwhile, the British regulator, the Gambling Commission, has not yet clarified whether it will intervene in the matter. The regulator’s CEO Andrew Rhodes has expressed impatience at operators who commit repeated compliance failures, and the regulator fined 888 £9.4m in March last year due to AML failings. William Hill, which 888 bought last year, is already under a licensing review for historic failings in its retail business.
Last year, Gibraltar announced a new tiered system for gambling licence fees, with larger operators charged more and smaller operators less. The changes followed a consultation that came on the heels of the proposed new Gambling Act.
Under the tiered system for remote betting and gaming licences, the fee to be paid depends on annual gross gambling yield (GGY) in each vertical (operators need a separate licence for each vertical they operate in, so, revenue from sports betting, for example, will not affect the licence fee tier for a remote gaming licence).