Rank pays price of AML failings

Rank pays price of AML failings

Thursday, September 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
A Gambling Commission review found fault with the operator's procedures

Rank Group has agreed to forfeit £950,000 (€1.31m/$1.46m) after being found to have “serious shortcomings” in its anti-money laundering (AML) controls in a UK Gambling Commission investigation.

The review of the gaming operator’s policies and procedures was prompted by the money laundering conviction of a former leading Grosvenor Casinos customer, Da Feng Ding, and a separate case involving another criminal, known as ‘Customer B’, who is currently awaiting sentencing after recently pleading guilty to defrauding a six-figure sum.

The review found that Rank, in relation to Ding, made a number of errors, including failing to take effective and timely action to verify the identity of the customer, did not establish the customer’s source of funds and failed to take appropriate action when Grosvenor Casino staff had suspicions about the customer’s transactions.

In the second, unrelated case, ‘Customer B’ was able to gamble a six-figure sum without Rank Digital undertaking sufficient AML checks or undertaking adequate monitoring from a social responsibility perspective.

The Gambling Commission said that following the review, Rank has “acknowledged serious shortcomings and failures to apply the lessons learnt from previous scrutiny” and has agreed to a third party audit of its revised AML arrangements and the surrender of an estimated £950,000 profits that resulted from these shortcomings, to be spent for “agreed socially responsible purposes”.

A Gambling Commission spokesperson said: “The Commission is bringing to the attention of all operators the need to take a critical approach to assessing their own policies and procedures and, crucially, whether they are being followed and remain fit for purpose, to avoid generating a false sense of security.”

Rank recently announced that operating profit excluding exceptional items for the 12 months to June 30, 2015 increased by 16 per cent year-on-year to £84m, while revenue rose three per cent to £700.7m.

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