UKGC Orders Betfred to Pay £800,000
The UK Gambling Commission has ordered bookmaker Betfred to pay more than £800,000 after it was found to have failed to meet its obligations on social responsibility and preventing money laundering.
Betfred agreed to the settlement after it admitted accepting stolen cash from convicted thief Matthew Stevens, who alleged he was offered day trips, free drinks, and other perks as Betfred encouraged him to keep betting.
Stevens, a former accountant, was jailed earlier this year after he was found guilty of stealing more than £850,000 from his emplyoer’s accounts over a 13-month period to fuel his addiction to gambling. The UKGC stated that “a significant proportion of the stolen money was spent with Betfred.”
The UKGC looked into the case after Stevens claimed he was offered numerous perks to keep him gambling with Betfred, who in turn admitted Stevens was considered a VIP customer, and was in the top five percent of customers in regards to profit and spend.
Richard Watson, programme director at the UKGC, said: ““We identified a number of weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls used by Betfred. The penalty package of over £800,000 reflects these failures. “The commission has now concluded a wide range of cases over the last 10 months leading to around £3.75million in penalty packages.
“The outcomes and findings in these cases provide a clear signal to operators of the need to learn the lessons from these for social responsibility and money laundering controls, or risk facing tougher sanctions.”
Betfred are not the only gambling firm to be hit with a large settlement from the UKGC. Since Sarah Harrison took over as the chief executive, Paddy Power have been hit with a £280,000 fine for encouraging a problem gambler to continue gambling, while Coral paid an £880,000 settlement after the company took hundreds of thousands of pounds from a customer who was using proceeds from criminal activity to fund his betting.