Old person

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has completed its investigation into International Multi-Media Entertainments Limited (IMME), finding dramatic sustainability, social responsibility, and money laundering failings at the operator.

A notice on the operator’s main website – lotteries.com, informs customers that it has surrendered its licence and asks customers to contact customer support to withdraw funds by March, or the proceeds will be donated to a UK charity.

Lotteries - screenshot
A notice on Lotteries.com

Among other concerns, the company seems to have been targeting elderly customers with relentless sales drives, including one customer in her 90s who was called by sales agents several times a week.

The vast majority (75 per cent) of IMME’s customers were over 60 years old, and 20 per cent were over 80 years. According to the UKGC, IMME had not considered the potential vulnerabilities in this customer base.

Indeed, the company seems to have failed in a number of instances regarding its responsible gambling obligations.

The IMME was “unable” to prove adequate safer gambling interactions to the UKGC, it said.

Particularly notably, there were no recorded of interactions with a 78 year old customer who spent £63,951 (€76,441) in just over three months, while one 74 year old was allowed to deposit £9,379 (€11,210) in eight days without an adequate responsible gambling interaction.

The UKGC also cited a number of failings in the company’s anti money laundering regime.

An egregious example includes that one customer, who was 100 years old at the time the Commission review was started, bet £23,839 (€28,495) in just five months. His deposits more than doubled from £2,992 (€3,576) in September 2018 to £6,090 (€7,279) in October 2018 and continued to rise but IMME did not obtain source of funds evidence.

Likewise, IMME knew that two of its top depositors were retired postmen but allowed one to bet £20,345 (€24,318) in five months and another to bet £16,207 (€19,372) in six months without obtaining further information to support that level of spend.

The investigation was launched following concerns being raised about the way the company’s business was conducted, and after the UKGC suspended IMME’s operating licence. The IMME subsequently surrendered this licence.

In comments accompanying the release of the investigation’s findings, the UKGC’s executive director said: “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.”

She added that had the operator not surrendered its licence, the failures discovered in the investigation would “inevitably” had led to a complete licence revocation.

IMME’s registered office was a PO box on the Isle of Man. All three of its registered brands (Jackpot World, Lotteries.com, and Lotto Express) are inactive.

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