The year did not end on the most positive note for the online gaming operator Stride Gaming (SG). In fact, they received a massive fine of £7.1 Million. The UKGC issued the penalty because the company did not follow regulation for anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility according to them.
The colossal fine sure came as a surprise. In fact, funds set aside for regulatory reviews were half that amount. But SG swept off the penalty by calling them “excessive and disproportionate.” And even “procedural in nature and did not involve any incidence of identifiable money laundering.” So, let’s examine the accusations into more details.
Richard Watson from the UKGC commented on that matter. “This action is part of an ongoing investigation into the online casino sector. And the operator’s standards did not match the protections required. And this fine reflects the seriousness of these lapses.”
So what did SG breach?
First, they failed to meet the UKGC’s standard on the source of funds for 742 customers account. But, the company froze 63 accounts after the shortcoming came to notice. Secondly, SG had a few technical issues, which resulted in 128 unsent responsible gaming emails. And because of that, 73 customers kept on depositing, £17,830 in total. But of course, after noticing this, all funds found their way back to the customers.
So it’s easy to understand why SG called the fines “excessive and disproportionate.” But on top of being fined over £7 million SG was also instructed to appoint an AML Reporting Officer. And the UKGC strongly recommended that all staff should undertake AML training.
Not all bad news
Indeed, in the latest financial report, the company announced a revenue increase of 8.7% (YOY) or £89 Million. The growth is mostly due to its proprietary technology platform, Real Money Gaming. Although SG’s annual earnings fell 18.2% to £16.1 Million, the company mostly puts the blame on the UK’s new tax on free bets.
Still, Eitan Boyd, SG’s CEO remained positive. And said the current fiscal year has been “satisfactory and in line with our expectations.” He added that “this temporary dip should not scare away stakeholder”. In fact, SG announced that the shareholders would get an extra dividend of 8p to add to the 1.7p per share.