PADDY POWER BETFAIR FINED £2.2M FOR FAILING TO STOP BETS WITH STOLEN MONEY
Paddy Power Betfair has been fined £2.2m by the gambling industry regulator for failing to protect customers and stop stolen money being gambled.
The Gambling Commission said during 2016, the betting group failed to intervene when customers displayed signs of problem gambling and did not carry out adequate anti-money-laundering checks.
An investigation by the regulator revealed that two customers were allowed to gamble “significant sums” of stolen money on the company’s betting exchange, Betfair.
One of the customers was the former boss of Birmingham Dogs Home, Simon Price, who spent money with Betfair that he had stolen from the charity. He was jailed in December for five years for defrauding the charity of £900,000 over a four-year period.
Failings were also identified involving three online customers and in the betting firm’s shops, including weaknesses in its source of wealth and social responsibility checks.
The executive director of the commission, Richard Watson, said: “As a result of Paddy Power Betfair’s failings, significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable. Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling.
“These failings all stem from one simple principle: operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money-laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
Of the £2.2m, £1.7m will be donated to Gamble Aware, the independent charity working to reduce gambling-related harm in Britain. The money stolen from Birmingham Dogs Home by Price and spent with Betfair will be returned to the charity. More than £50,000 will be paid towards the commission’s investigative costs.
The Paddy Power Betfair chief executive, Peter Jackson, said: “We have a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling. In these five cases our interventions were not effective and we are very sorry that this occurred. In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling and customer protection.”
The latest penalty is part of a wider clampdown by the Gambling Commission on failures within the betting industry. In February, it fined William Hill £6.2m for failing to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.