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Vivaro Limited fined £337,631 by the UK Gambling Commission

Sports betting operator Vivaro Limited has been fined £337,631 ($414,515) by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for anti-money laundering (AML) and player protection law violations.

The gaming regulator launched an investigation in early 2020 through 2021, scrutinizing the operator’s AML and player protection procedures. It found it guilty of breaching these aforementioned areas.

“Following completion of and having regard to the risk assessment and any review of the assessment, licensees must ensure they have appropriate policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing,” license condition 12.1.1 (2) of the gaming commision stated.

Vivaro was found to be accepting huge payments from customers without running Know Your Customer (KYC) checks on them.

“It did not have sufficient resourcing of its KYC agents to manage requirements in respect of identifying customers at risk and undertake customer interactions. The automatic system suspension was in relation to financial triggers only; and that it did not sufficiently resource other risk factors,” said UKGC.

“It had insufficient control in place to protect new customers, and to effectively consider high velocity spend and duration of play until the customer reached a ‘higher tier’ AML Trigger.”

The regulator also gave an instance of when customers deposited huge sums without any verification or “source of funds” done.

“One Customer with a salary of £5,000 a month, was able to deposit £20,000 between 09 September 2020 and 05 February 2021- this amounted to circa 80% of the customers salary and the Licensee did not sufficiently review this level of spend.” UKGC stated.

“Vivaro did not 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.”

In addition, the gaming and sports betting operator was criticized for allowing a customer to make payments using cryptocurrency despite the risks associated with it.

“The Licensee did not sufficiently consider the risks associated with funds a customer used to gamble that had originated from crypto currency. Crypto currency is considered high risk by Commission Officials and should be subject to further investigation,” the commission added.

So far, the operator has been in compliance with the measures imposed by the UKGC. It has accepted its misconduct and promised it will cooperate with the regulator moving forward.

“Vivaro being open and transparent from the outset of the investigation and fully co-operative throughout,” the UK commission stated.

Vivaro has agreed to the reports from the investigation, saying that “there were significant weaknesses in its systems relating to how it managed its customers for AML and social responsibility purposes.”

A report on how the fine issued will be disbursed has already been made. The sum of £15,607 ($19,161) will be used to cover the cost incurred during the investigation, and a larger percentage of the money will be utilized in projects that pertain to curbing gambling addictions.

“A payment in lieu of a financial penalty of £302,500 which will go to National Responsible Gambling Strategy project(s) to pay for research and treatment as determined appropriate to address the risk of harmful gambling, a divestment of £35,131,” the regulator noted. Payment of £15,606.50 towards our investigative costs.”

The Vivaro regulatory settlement listed by UKGC included having external personnel work in close range with the operator for a period of 12 months to make sure it implements the AML and player protection procedures.

UKGC said Vivaro will “undertake a third-party audit within 12 months of the conclusion of the review. The purpose of the audit is to examine whether the Licensee is effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls in accordance with its regulatory requirements.”

Vivaro will also “provide the Commission with a copy of the Audit report within 5 working days of it being received by it,” the commission added.

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