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TonyBet Fined £442K by UKGC unfair withdrawal conditions

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined TonyBet £442,750 (US$547,000) for failing to have transparent and fair terms. The European online sports book was accused of providing unfair conditions in its fine print, likely designed to make players have issues during withdrawals.

On Wednesday, the UK Gambling Commission stated that the amount was fined due to TonyBet’s negligence in having “fair and transparent terms, and for failing to follow social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) rules.”

TonyBet, which also operates tonybet.co.uk, will be subjected to a third-party audit to determine if the company is appropriately implementing all social responsibility and anti-money laundering requirements.

Some unfair clauses published on the Betsson-owned company’s website include stating that the operator retained the right to ask for the customer’s identification documents for “all withdrawals.” This would be done despite the same checks not being in place during the customer’s deposit process. It serves to potentially hamper the punter from taking home their winnings.

TonyBet was also accused of including terms that stipulated that customers’ winnings could be confiscated if an AML documentary was not provided within 30 days. Customer accounts were also considered dormant after half a year of inactivity rather than the UKGC-specified 12 months.

The European online sports book’s social responsibility failures include its inability to identify and converse with punters that could be at risk of unverifiable gambling-related harm. TonyBet was also accused of not ensuring that there were appropriate procedures, policies, and controls in check to put an end to terrorist financing and money laundering.

The implication of TonyBet’s actions is that the sports book wanted customers to face more issues when withdrawing their winnings by putting several obstacles in the process while allowing them to deposit with little to no problems. Both instances can be achieved under the ruse of following AML regulations and its social responsibility rules which, upon investigation, were tweaked to its benefit.

This is not the first time sportsbooks have been accused of using a lengthy identification process to cause issues during withdrawals in a bid to make the customers give up their winnings. It is, however, the first time a UK operator has been fined for admitting such in its small print.

The UK Gambling Commission’s executive director of operations, Kay Roberts, stated that the case with TonyBet was an illustration of the regulator’s commitment to curb anti-money laundering and put an end to social responsibility failures.

“Not only does this case illustrate our drive to clamp down on anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures, but also highlights action we will take against gambling businesses who fail to be fair and open with customers,” Roberts said.

Famous Lithuanian-Australian poker player Antanas Guoga founded the Lithuania-based TonyBet in 2009. The gambler, commonly known as “Tony G,” eventually sold the firm to Betsson, a Swedish company, in 2016 and relinquished all his dealings with TonyBet. The company is licensed to carry out transactions in the UK using its TonyBet.co.uk platform.

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