The UK Gambling Commission has published its findings from an investigation into International Multi-Media Entertainments Limited (IMME), finding it committed suitability, social responsibility and money laundering failures.
IMME provided the facility to allow betting on the outcome of lotteries via its website lotteries.com, using a real event betting license awarded by the commission.
Concerns were raised about the firm’s conduct from several reports, leading UKGC to suspend its license in March 2020 pending a full investigation.
The investigation found that IMME had been consistently targeting elderly people to sell to, with 75% of its customers being over 60 years old and 20% being over 80 years old.
UKGC stated that the firm did not consider the potential vulnerabilities of this demographic, finding that customers complained of being called repeatedly by IMME sales agents, including one customer in her 90s who was called several times a week.
Another complainant stated that a lotteries.com customer was called every 30-40 minutes by IMME staff using aliases, five or six times until the phone was answered.
On social responsibility failings, IMME had failed to take any records of interactions with a 78-year-old customer who had spent over £63,000 in just three months.
Furthermore, a 74-year-old customer had deposited nearly £10,000 in eight days, however, IMME failed to implement any safer gambling messaging with the customer.
On money laundering failures, IMME was unable to secure a source of funds of a now 100-year-old customer who had bet £23,839 in just five months, whose deposits more than doubled from £2,992 in September 2018 to £6,090 in October 2018.
UKGC had previously suspended the license of IMME, however, upon the investigation, the company voluntarily surrendered its license holding.
Helen Venn, Commission Executive Director, commented: “We will not tolerate gambling businesses behaving in the way IMME did. Gambling operators in Britain must follow our social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules, and a failure to do this will lead to us taking tough action.
“We suspended IMME’s licence following initial concerns and – having delved even deeper into the business’s activities – discovered failures that would have inevitably led to complete licence revocation had the operator not surrendered it.
“There is no room in Britain’s gambling industry for operators who fail in the way IMME have.”