Bookmaker News – Betway hit with record fine

Gambling Commission hits Betway in its pocket

Steeple chase /National Hunt ©imago images / Colorsport 13.03.2020

Betway has become the latest online bookmaker to have fallen foul of the Gambling Commission and has been hit with a record fine of £11.6m for failing to protect gambling addicts and to prevent people betting with stolen money.

Campaigners calling for betting license to be withdrawn

Campaigners had called for Betway’s licence to be suspended pending further investigation after the industry regulator found one big-spending customer, alleged to have been allotted VIP status, deposited over £8m and lost more than £4m over a four-year period.

Another customer lost £187,000 in two days after Betway failed to carry out adequate checks, the Gambling Commission said.

A probe by the commission found that Betway allowed £5.8m to flow through its business which was, or could reasonably be suspected to be, proceeds of crime.

Betway fine is biggest in history

The Betway case is the largest penalty package against a gambling firm ever prosecuted in the UK and comes as regulators ramp up pressure on the industry to do more to protect customers.

Under particularly close scrutiny is the widespread use of VIP schemes which companies have been using to ensure customers who gamble large sums keep betting.

These lucrative customers are assigned relationship managers who offer bonuses and encourage them to gamble if they’ve not done so for some time. Many of these customers have been found to have a gambling problem and in several cases have been found to be using stolen money to fund their habit.

Other large fines recently meted out by the Gambling Commission to bookmakers and their parent companies include £7.1m for Daub Alderbey in 2018 with the Ladbrokes Coral Group forced to cough up £5.9m last year. William Hill were fined upwards of £6.2m in 2018 for breaching social responsibility and money laundering rules.

The Gambling Commission clearly means business in its efforts to clean up the UK gambling industries and other bookmakers will now be examining their company policy and methodology to see if they are also vulnerable to censure.