Gaming Operator Onisac Fined For Gibraltar Money Laundering

Home » Gaming Operator Onisac Fined For Gibraltar Money Laundering

Posted on: March 2, 2022, 06:27h. 

Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 11:40h.

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.

Tourists flock to the streets of Gibraltar. Although tourism is big business, so is gambling, and regulators continue to strictly watch the space. (Image: Culture Trip)

The GGC conducted an on-site inspection of Onisac’s facilities, looking for anything that didn’t mesh with industry standards. What it found was a considerable list of failings, which resulted in the company receiving a fine of £850,000 (US$1.14 million).

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.

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.

Onisac Now in the Cross-Hairs

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 being flagged as 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 allegedly 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. While technically a British territory, it’s not greatly supported by the UK.  The country has been a source of contention between the British and Spanish governments who both want to control the 2.6-square-mile piece of land.

It seems 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.

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 may need much more oversight.

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