On Wednesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published an official statement, in which it informed about regulatory actions taken against the company behind the gambling brand MrQ. As the Lindar Media Ltd.-owned business was found guilty of violating anti-money laundering and social responsibility guidelines, the UK regulator imposed a £690,947 fine on MrQ’s operator.
The money which will be obtained after the licence holder pays the imposed fine will be used for funding socially responsible charity works. Although some of the licensee requirements for UK operators have recently changed after the UK government published the white paper on gambling, during the period, which was investigated by the UKGC, MrQ was in breach of rules and licence conditions which were applicable at the time.
MrQ Operator Failed to Comply with a Series of License Guidelines to Prevent Money Laundering and Gambling Harm
The UKGC’s investigation of MrQ’s operational practices began after the regulator conducted a compliance assessment in September 2022. The results of the review included failings in Lindar Media Ltd.’s actions for preventing money laundering and protecting vulnerable individuals who may have been exposed to gambling harms.
Following the Commission’s investigation, it was discovered that between July 2021 and September 2022, Lindar Media Ltd. did not follow the required licensee guidelines. The failings of the entity included not following paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of licence condition 12.1.1 for preventing Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorist Financing (TF). There was also a breach in ordinary code provision 2.1.1, which requires remote casino licence holders to comply with UKGC’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines.
The Commission also discovered that Lindar Media Ltd. did not comply with licence conditions requiring the operator to notify the regulator of the appointment of a new person to a certain key position or the layoff of a person from an important position in the company. The operator also failed to comply with requirements for specified office management, advertising code compliance requirements, as well as licence conditions for an annual contribution to problem gambling prevention.
Last but not least, Lindar Media Ltd. violated paragraphs 1a, 1b, and 2 of the Social Responsibility Code Provision (SRCP), which require the licence holder to identify and reach out to individuals who have indicated that they might be experiencing gambling harms. The operator must take into account the regulator’s guidelines for customer interactions and act in a way that minimises any potential gambling-related harms.
Lindar Media Ltd. Takes Remedial Actions but Still Faces Financial Penalty Due to Operational Failings
While Lindar Media Ltd. was found to have breached several licence guidelines, the operator took remedial actions, which have also impacted the final decision of the UKGC. Once the breaches of the licence conditions were identified, the operator took immediate actions to rectify the failings and, there were a few instances where the actions were taken even before the compliance assessment. Lindar Media Ltd. also did not hesitate to disclose all facts, which were relevant to the investigation. Once the Commission identified the company’s failings, MrQ’s operator accepted the breaches as soon as possible and made an early proposal for a regulatory settlement.
Lindar Media Ltd. was fully cooperative during the Commission’s review process, which was also taken into consideration when the regulator was making its decision on the penalty to be imposed on the licence holder. Based on the discoveries during the review and the mitigating factors, UKGC’s final decision was to impose a £690,947 fine on Lindar Media Ltd.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.