Mansion Group-Owned Gaming Operator Onisac Fined over AML Failings in Gibraltar
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Posted on: March 2, 2022, 06:27h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 06:27h.
Onisac, the online casino operator owned by the Mansion Group, is facing trouble in Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner has hit it with a significant fine for not following anti-money-laundering regulations.
Gambling regulators in all jurisdictions constantly seek out entities that don’t play by their rules. In many regions, not following anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations is the chief offense they look for. This is true in Gibraltar, where the government fights to show it can stand on its own two feet.
Because gaming is a significant part of the local economy, the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC) conducts routine checks to ensure operators headquartered there play by its rules. A recent investigation into how Onisac was conducting its day-to-day activity uncovered issues the regulator didn’t like.
Onisac Now in the Cross-Hairs
The GGC conducted an on-site inspection of the online gaming operator’s facilities, looking for anything that didn’t mesh with industry standards. What it found was a considerable list of failing, which resulted in the company receiving a fine of £850,000 ($1.14 million).
Onisac reportedly failed to adhere to established rules regarding AML processes. It didn’t follow protocol regarding activity from players outside the European Union and the UK. This led to a number of customer accounts flagged as being problematic.
Exacerbating the situation was the fact that Onisac’s upper management blatantly, and perhaps willfully, disregarded the GGC’s regulations. The regulator explained in its notice about the fine that it had previously suggested to Onisac’s management, in 2020, steps it could take to improve questionable AML practices. The company never listened.
Onisac bore the brunt of the regulator’s ire. However, the Mansion Group will need to step up its controls, as well. The GGC isn’t going after the company yet, but it will certainly remain on the regulator’s radar for the foreseeable future.
Gaming Helps Stabilize Gibraltar’s Autonomy
Gibraltar has always been treated as an outcast. It is technically a British territory, but the UK doesn’t want to support it. The area has been a source of contention between the British and Spanish governments. Both want to control the 2.6-square-mile piece of land.
Britain doesn’t want to finance Gibraltar more than it has to. So, the territory had to figure out how to make it on its own. Tourism is always big business, but Gibraltar’s leaders also saw a lot of value in gambling.
Gibraltar has been a hub for bookmakers for decades, partially because of its tax rules for corporations. As iGaming became more popular, operators joined the economy, but there were a lot of issues at first.
For the past couple of years, as Brexit was taking place and Gibraltar’s future continued to face uncertainty, authorities wanted to make sure the territory didn’t succumb to negative influences.
Particularly since 2020, the GGC, along with the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, has spent a great deal of time conducting AML checks. That year, it issued fines of more than $3.3 million.
The GGC has been able to stay on top of the issue. However, a single fine given to Onisac for a third of that amount shows that some operators need much more oversight.