The UK Gambling Commission’s investigations found that Betfred Gibraltar, owner of Betfred Bingo, failed in carrying out essential anti-money laundering checks. The regulator fined the firm £322k and revealed that customers of the platform could easily deposit stolen funds into their accounts which led to a loss of £140,000.
One of the platform’s customers, who deposited £210,000 into his accounts was convicted to a £2 million fraud. The deposits came from his stolen funds and were subsequently lost on the platform within 12 days. The event took place on November 2017. According to the Commission, the fact that a customer lost such a huge amount of money in less than two weeks suggests lax anti-money laundering policies at Betfred. It also questioned the efficacy of the procedures by Petfre, the Gibraltar trading subsidiary of Betfred.
Petfre will now pay the gross gambling yield it earned on £140,000 of the funds it received. The company will refund the said amount to the person who was defrauded to obtain the funds. It will also pay a penalty of £182,000, which will be channelized to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. Additionally, it will pay £15,168.42 to cover UKGC’s cost of the investigation. It has also been directed to publish a statement of facts related to the Commission’s judgement.
The Warrington-based company, which offers sports betting and casinos, as well as Bingo, commented that it has improved its AML procedures. It is also confident that its new procedures will be more effective in handling regulatory violations, and no such problems will be faced in the future.
Clifton Davies Consultants’ director David Clifton criticized Betfred for not handling the case well and said that the company ignored the warning signs from the customer when he was unable to provide the source of his funds.
The UK Gambling Commission is expected to update its codes of practice and license conditions later this month which could introduce stricter regulation in the industry. The Commission has been cracking down on lax policies of gambling firms to ensure consumer safety and prevent money laundering. It fined Vidoslots, Casumo and Daub Alderney for violating AML guidelines.
Neil McArthur, UKGC CEO recently warned firms that it would start cracking down on firms as well as individuals who are responsible for policy failures and violations.