The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has conducted an investigation that found Betfred guilty of favoring money laundering activities. The regulators handed the Gibraltar-based bookmaker a £322K fine for the negligence.
The penalty came at the backdrop of the bookmaker, allowing a customer to deposit a massive amount of money without inquiring the source. The customer allegedly obtained the money through fraudulence means.
It was reported that the said customer had stolen £2 million before deciding to deposit £210K with Betfred. He would then gamble the money and lose the two-third of the amount within just 12 days. It means that at the end of the period, the alleged thief squandered £140000, remaining with £70000.
The regulator found Betfred guilty of failing to inquiry the source of money, with the entire activity happening within less than two weeks. UKGC felt that the operator ought to have asked the source of the money, given that the customer was capable of handling such a massive loss in a short period.
The incident that tested the operator’s inability to handle money laundering activities took place on November 2017. Betfred is a trading name of a bookmaker firm registered as Petfre Limited.
The firm will now pay a total of £344000 for its failure to put a mechanism that can thwart money-laundering deals. The customer lost £140000 while gambling, so that’s the amount of money to be deducted from the total fine to compensate the victim of the theft.
From the fine, £182000 will be the penalty for watching money laundering act without taking measures, while the remaining £15000 will meet the legal cost for conducting the investigation. UKGC has already identified what to do with the fine received from the negligence. The commission plans to channel the money in the kitty of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Clifton Davies Consultant director David Clifton faults the betting operator for failing to show authority despite witnessing the entire incident. According to Clifton, Betfred failed to act even after a glaring gesture that the customer was suspicious. After Betfred had asked the customer the source of his money, the gamer never gave a response, but Betfred failed to insist on its stance.
This is what David had to say: “Betfred seemed to have heard those bells ringing because they twice requested the source of funds information, but then seemingly did nothing after the customer failed to provide it.”
It isn’t the first time that Betfred is finding itself in such quagmire. The firm had previously been forced to pay a fine of £800000 after allowing the same occurrence to happen. The case involved Mathew Stevens, who stole £850000 from a businessman named Mahmood Marzar. Stevens allegedly defrauded Marzar the amount within a period estimated to be around thirteen months.
The convict who worked as an accountant would then become a VIP player at Betfred. Stevens ended up embezzling £443000 of the amount he stole in gambling activities at the firm. Like the current scenario, the regulator fined the gambling operator the money and compensated the victim of the fraudulent act. After refunding the businessman, £344500 from the £800K fine was diverted to meet responsible gambling and social cause.
Betfred’s headquarters, which is based in Warrington, obliged with the commission’s finding and accepted the penalty. The gambling firm also announced that it had improved its anti-money laundering mechanisms, in an effort to avert similar incidences in future.
UKGC has intensified the fight with gambling operators to enhance the safety of players and curb money laundering activities. The commission’s CEO Neil McArthur encouraged betting operators to “sit up and take notice” of possible penalties and their procedures.