Saturday, 14 March 2020

Betway To Pay Record-High Fine Of £11.6M Over Multiple Failings


Sports betting and casino operator Betway has been fined a record-high £11.6 million over multiple failings.

The UK Gambling Commission fined the operator this week following an investigation which found that the firm had accepted stolen money from VIP customers. According to the Guardian, the Commission discovered that the firm allowed £5.8 million to flow through the company, some of which was stolen.

The Commission said Betway has proved itself “inadequate” regarding its dealings with seven customers and its obligations to fulfil its money laundering and problem gambling checks. According to the Commission, Betway failed to carry out Source of Funds checks on a VIP customer who deposited £8 million and lost more than £4 million over a four-year period. The player’s account was flagged as a potential risk 20 times but staff accepted the user’s word as evidence of their Source of Funds.

Another case saw an unemployed Betway customer deposit £1.6 million and lose over £700,000 over three years. The Commission found that Betway relied on “open source’ information as evidence they could afford the large payments and losses. In addition, it was discovered that Betway accepted almost £500,000 from a customer who had 11 different accounts with the site and who had previously self-excluded themselves from gambling sites, and that Betway had failed to follow Source of Founds checks with a customer who deposited and lost £187,000 in two days.

Due to the failings, Betway has been made to pay a total fine of £11.6 million, breaking 888 Casino’s previous record-high fine of £7.8 million in 2017. Of the £11.6 million, £5.8 million will be paid towards the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms and another £5.8 million will go towards victims if applicable.

What They Say

Richard Watson, the Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, said that Betway’s actions suggested they held “little regard” for the welfare of its VIP and high-paying customers, as well as the welfare for the people around them. Watson also stated that Betway’s case illustrates why operators’ management of high-value customers must change and why operators must do everything they can to interact responsibly with customers.

Watson said: “As part of our ongoing programme of work to make gambling safer, we are pushing the industry to make rapid progress on the areas that we consider will have the most significant impact to protect customers. The treatment and handling of high-value customers is a significant piece of that work and operators are in no doubt about the need to tackle the issue at speed. We have set tight deadlines for when we expect to see progress and if we do not see the right results then we will have no choice but to take further action. This case highlights again why progress needs to be made.”

The news comes just weeks after the Gambling Commission suspended Triplebet’s operating license after believing that the firm’s gambling services were being carried out inconsistently with the regulatory body’s licensing objectives. The Commission also recently suspended Stakers’ betting license for similar reasons, as well as Addison Global’s operating license.

The suspensions led Triplebet and Stakers to stop UK-based players from playing at their websites until further notice. However, days after Addison Global’s suspension was announced, its MoPlay website was declared insolvent after being unable to pay off customers and outstanding debts to affiliates.