Bookmaker fined over stolen charity money failings

Gambling

Paddy Power Betfair has been hit with a £2.2m fine for allowing significant amounts of stolen money to flow through its exchange

17th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A gambling firm has been hit with a massive fine for failing to stop money stolen from a charity from being gambled through its website.

Paddy Power Betfair has been fined £2.2m by the Gambling Commission for failings which allowed “significant amounts of stolen money to flow through their exchange".

An investigation by the commission found that one customer used money defrauded from his employer, Birmingham Dogs Home, to place significant bets. The home’s former boss Simon Price was jailed in December for five years for defrauding the charity of £900,000 over a four-year period.

The commission's inquiry centred on five customers in 2016, including two who were allowed to gamble stolen money.

The regulator said failings by the bookmaker meant stolen money was used to bet, and also found it failed to adequately interact with customers who were displaying signs of problem gambling.

"These failings all stem from one simple principle - operators must know their customer," said Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director.

"If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations."

As part of the settlement, Paddy Power Betfair will make a £1.7m payment to GambleAware, the independent charity that commissions research, education and treatment services to reduce gambling-related harm in the UK. As part of Paddy Power's settlement with the Gambling Commission, the stolen money will be returned to the dogs home.

Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Peter Jackson said: "We have a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling. In these five cases our interventions were not effective and we are very sorry that this occurred.

"In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling and customer protection. We are encouraged that the Gambling Commission has recognised significant improvement since the time of these cases in 2016."