Record Fine Has UK Gambling Industry Flapping


There will be worries across the UK gambling industry after a leading bookmaker was fined £2.2 million by the UK Gambling Commission for failing to stop stolen money being gambled and to protect its customers – contravening two of the three commission’s licensing objectives.

Investigation

An investigation highlighted five instances where Paddy Power Betfair – which had a 2017 turnover of £1.75 billion – failed in its duties, including “significant amounts of stolen money” being gambled through Betfair’s exchange.

One customer was found to have placed bets online using money he had stolen from the charity Dog’s Home he managed – an offence he has been jailed for.

The investigation’s findings also revealed that during 2016 Paddy Power failed in their duty to intervene when customers showed signs of developing problematic gambling habits.

They also failed to carry out sufficient anti-money laundering checks.

Other Brands Also Fined

This isn’t the first time this year that a leading UK bookmaker has been fined.

In February, the commission also fined William Hill over £6 million for the same failings.

Online gambling firm 888 was fined almost £8 million for failing to correct a technical fault which allowed those who had self-excluded from their websites to continue betting.

Another customer’s habit became so severe that he turned to crime in order to fund his habit.

Fines To Help Charity

£1.7 million of the Paddy Power fine will go to GambleAware, the UK’s leading charity for dealing with problem gambling.

Over half of the 888 fine was similarly allocated to a ‘socially responsible’ cause dealing with gambling-related harm.

Industry Worries

The size of the fines, whilst small in comparison to the turnover generated by bookmakers, will worry UK bookmakers.

Despite the proliferation of betting shops on UK high streets and the profitability of online gambling sites, the industry is under threat from forthcoming government legislation and a rise in taxes.

The rise in gambling addiction has also intensified calls in the media for tighter regulation and reduced marketing.

The Gambling Commission already sets out three objectives: Keeping crime out of gambling, practising open and fair betting and protecting the young and vulnerable.