The UK Gambling Commission has announced that Malta-based Vivaro Limited has agreed to pay £337,631 as a regulatory settlement after a series of shortcomings were identified.
UK.- The British Gambling Commission has announced that Vivaro Limited, trading as vbet, will pay a £337,631 regulatory settlement following a series of failings.
The settlement follows an investigation which highlighted failings in Vivaro Limited’s processes aimed at preventing money laundering and safer gambling.
The UKGC 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.
Failures included in the regulator statement include instances where customers were able to deposit significant sums of money before ‘know your customer’ (KYC) checks were carried out; and an inability to provide sufficient guidance within its policies or procedures as to how staff should verify Source Of Funds (SOF) and what supporting documents should be requested.
AML trigger levels were considered too high, based on the average level of customer spend, and were therefore not appropriate to effectively manage associated ML risk.
Customers reviewed during the compliance assessment were subject to AML checks which were ineffective in establishing the SOF being used for gambling, bank statements were not scrutinised to identify other income with reliance placed on winnings from other operators. One customer was able to deposit £14,850 within two months with insufficient SOF being established.
Another customer provided a bank statement showing a balance of over £270,000 said to be winnings from another betting account. Vivaro failed to sufficiently consider the risks associated with recycled winnings. In particular, no additional checks were undertaken to confirm the origin of the funds that had been used to gamble. However, the Commission also confirmed that they found no evidence of criminal spend during the compliance assessment.
Lastly, the Commission also criticised Vivaro for failing to ‘sufficiently consider the risks’ associated with crypto currency trading. Crypto currency is considered high risk by Commission Officials and should be subject to further investigation.
When determining the appropriate action to take, the regulator said there were “significant licence condition breaches for a sustained period of time, however, Vivaro was “proactive and timely” in addressing all the issues identified, as well as being “open and transparent from the outset of the investigation and fully co-operative throughout”.
Vivaro will make payments in lieu of a penalty package of £337,631. Of that sum, £302,500 will go to National Responsible Gambling Strategy projects to pay for research and treatment as determined appropriate to address the risk of harmful gambling. A payment of £15,606 will also cover the regulator’s investigation.