Ownership Concerns Prompted The UKGC To Revoke Park Lane Casino’s License

Article by : Helen Nov 18, 2020

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has recently revoked the gaming license issued to the Park Lane Casino operated by Silverbond Enterprises Ltd because of the concerns over the new Silverbond’s ownership. Park Lane Casino is a luxury gambling venue that follows the members-only scheme, with a US$1 thousand fee per year. Historically, license-related issues are not a rare thing for the casino’s owner.

The decision on the revocation was made on 21 October and made public a couple of weeks later. It will come in force on 18 November 2020 unless Silverbond Enterprises Ltd appeals the judgment. According to the official Park Lane Casino website, the venue is going to shut-down for some time, but this looks more like a reference to the second lockdown of retail operations in the country rather than a reference to the license revocation.

The UK Gambling Commission was not satisfied that the new ownership would hold the license issued to another corporate control. The regulator was not sure about how the change of the company’s ownership was financed, and thus, it was not clear how the future financial deals would be handled.

We regulate gambling in the public interest and to maintain public confidence in the industry. In doing this, we must be provided with information about those who run or have a significant interest in gambling businesses.

Hellen Venn, The Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission

Hellen also added that the Commission is not satisfied as to whom the future profits will be paid.

Apart from that, the UKGC managed to find out that the new controller has a spoiled reputation when it comes to providing necessary information. One of the major obligations of the UK Gambling Commission is to maintain public confidence in the gambling industry by providing access to all the necessary data on who operates the gambling businesses and received the profit. In the case of Park Lane Casino, the regulator does not have such information as of now.

This is not the first time the Silverbond’s license is under fire. In 2018, it was also put under deep review after some of the assets belonging to Vasilijis Melniks, Silverbond’s owner and a former Latvian Finance Minister, had been seized by the Ukrainian authorities as part of a major corruption investigation. One of those assets was Eiroholdings Invest, the company that owns Silverbond.

In 2016, the Silverbond’s license was subjected to another investigation, following the incident of offering check-cashing services to VIP players without providing them with proper SOF controls. The next year, 2 Park Lane Casino executives who were responsible for anti-money laundering processes were required to pass the refresher courses held by the UK Gambling Commission. While most gambling venues try to honor their VIP gambling policies, Park Lane Casino periodically conflicts with its VIP players. Thus, UK media has recently reported that Park Lane Casino promised Juste Puharic, a VIP gambler, to pay a ‘commission’ for betting large amounts as part of the existing cash-back deals and then refused to pay it. Guy Oliff-Cooper, Park Lane Casino representative, claims that no official offer was made to Juste Puharic so the casino staff has been acting in accordance with the casino’s policy.

In 2019, Silverbond failed to adhere to the social responsibility practice and to perform adequate anti-money laundering actions, which is why the company had to pay a fine of £1.8 million imposed by the UK Gambling Commission. Currently, Silverbond Enterprises Ltd is going to file an appeal of the license revocation, which means that the case is not yet closed, and the casino operator is not planning to give up.

Helen

Chief Editor

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