A “volatile” casino in a popular Glasgow venue has been transformed into a nightclub, after it emerged the company was fined almost £70,000 by a gambling watchdog over money laundering concerns.
The Corinthian Club on Ingram Street – owned by the Scotsman Group, formerly G1 Group – is launching a new nightclub in place of the casino on Saturday.
A lawyer for the Scotsman Group said the casino operation had been “volatile” or “challenging”. Corinthian Clubs Ltd, which owns casinos in Glasgow and Edinburgh, was warned and fined £68,517 by the Gambling Commission in August last year.
The gambling regulator found the firm didn’t have appropriate controls to stop money laundering and terrorist financing. It also didn’t collect enough information to identify “high risk” problem gamblers.
Corinthian Clubs Ltd is registered at Scotsman Group’s head office on Hamilton Drive, Glasgow. Scotsman Group is owned by Stefan King and runs several bars and restaurants in the city, including Hillhead Bookclub, Arta and the Grosvenor Cinema and recently acquired Oran Mor.
The Commission’s findings stated Corinthian Clubs Ltd had failed to “establish and maintain appropriate risk-sensitive policies, procedures and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing”.
It said the company didn’t ensure the policies, procedures and controls were implemented effectively, kept under review or revised appropriately to ensure they remained effective.
The watchdog found the licensee had failed to “promptly interact with customers who may have experienced significant harm and losses” on the casino’s products.
Corinthian Clubs also didn’t record “sufficient information on customer interactions to demonstrate whether the customer should be identified as high risk for the potential of problem gambling”.
“The licensee co-operated with the investigation and acknowledged the failings,” the Commission reported.
Ahead of the club opening, the Scotsman Group appeared before the city’s Licensing Board last week. Board members were told the club – billed as a “luxuruous labyrinth of booths and nooks” – was going “full circle”.
Archie MacIver, the licensing lawyer representing the Corinthian, said: “There is the nightclub licence and the licence for the casino part of the premises.
“What is happening here is the casino part of the premises is being excised from the property. For the record, it is going to be that licence that will be surrendered if you are willing to grant the variation today.”
He added: “When the Corinthian first opened up in 1999, one licence covered the whole property. If you are minded to grant this application, one licence will cover the whole property.
“Effectively the premises are going to be extended to include additional dance facilities in the basement area.”
Asked why the change was being made, Mr MacIver said the casino operation “was, I think it’s fair to say, volatile”. He then said it had been “challenging” and the firm was being “proactive”. The licensing board approved the changes.
A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said it cannot comment on individual cases.
Scotsman Group has not responded to requests for comment.