A significant penalty
BetConstruct’s B2C iGaming and sports betting division Vivaro Limited, which trades as Vbet, has to pay a fine of £337,631 ($414,515) to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for player protection and anti-money laundering (AML) failures.
investigation into the operator’s AML and safer gambling processes
The UKGC discovered “significant weaknesses” when conducting an investigation into the operator’s AML and safer gambling processes in 2020 and 2021. Vbet has accepted the penalty, with the funds set to go toward socially responsible causes.
The bulk of the fine will go to National Gambling Strategy projects that fund treatment and research relating to gambling addiction. £35,131 ($43,131) can be divested voluntarily, while £15,607 ($19,161) will go towards funding the UKGC investigation costs.
The UKGC found numerous system failings with Vbet’s AML procedures. One of the big issues was that people were able to deposit big sums without needing to adhere to a know-your-customer (KYC) check. Employees were not given sufficient guidance as to how to verify the source of funds and customer spend thresholds to trigger investigations were also too high.
Issues also existed with Vbet accepting the net gambling position of a customer as a means to pass a source of funds check. According to the UKGC statement, Vbet’s procedures meant that “Customers could be misappropriating funds and re-depositing fresh criminal spend.” Despite these concerns, the UKGC did not find any evidence of Vbet users depositing money that was the proceeds of crime.
Issues with safe gambling systems
Social responsibility issues were also rife in Vbet’s operations. There were insufficient controls in place to protecting new customers and duration of play and high-velocity gambling spend were also not sufficiently taken into consideration.
Vbet didn’t even try to compare high spending with the customer’s income levels
The company’s recordkeeping was found to be poor, while Vbet didn’t even try to compare high spending with the customer’s income levels. The UKGC outlined a specific example of how someone was able to deposit about 80% of their salary in a five-month period.
This is not the first time that Vbet has gotten in trouble with gambling authorities. Sweden’s gambling regulator revoked Vivaro’s license in September 2021 as it had not launched its operations despite getting a license a year prior. Vivaro did successfully appeal the decision on that occasion.