British gambling giant Betway is facing regulatory violations after one of its customers used £370,000 in stolen funds to gamble at their website. The customer, Ben Jones, stole this money from his employer The Cake Decorating Co. where he worked as a wholesale manager.
The 30-year-old Nottingham native suffers from a severe gambling addiction. He stole regularly from his workplace to fuel his habits. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) suggests that Betway failed to inquire about the source of his deposits. They didn’t have adequate measures to stop Jones from gambling repeatedly, even after losing large sums of money.
Jones first started stealing money from his employer in May 2015. He took away £5,000 a month to spend on Betway’s online gambling website. During this time, he crafted an elaborate plan to ensure his employers don’t discover his fraudulent acts. He took away as much as £30,000 a month and continued for over three years when he was finally caught in November 2018. Jones is spending 18 months in custody, after which he will be put on probation.
Jones’s lawyer, Omran Belhadi, said that Jones’ gambling habit is a psychiatric disorder. He argued that Jones’ didn’t steal the money for profit, it was simply because he could not control his urges to gamble. He added that his client is helping other people facing equally severe gambling issues. Sky Betting & Gaming is holding sessions with Jones’ to improve their systems.
However, The Cake Decorating Company had to face severe financial hardships because of Jones’ and almost went bankrupt. The company couldn’t identify his wrongdoings on time and continued to seek high-interest loans from lenders to keep the lights on.
The UKGC could impose a massive fine on Betway for inadequate customer protection and problem gambling measures. The company could stand in violation of UK gambling law, which mandates operators to talk to gamblers with problematic gambling patterns and conduct regular money laundering checks.
A Betway spokesperson commented on the matter and said that they are investigating the case. The company emphasized that it doesn’t seek to profit from stolen funds and works towards reimbursement for victims. The regulator fined another local operator Ladbrokes £5.9 million earlier this year for similar violations.