Online betting firm Betway has been hit with a record fine of £11.6 million by the Gambling Commission following an investigation which found it had failed to make sure funds deposited by VIP customers were not the proceeds of crimes.
The Commission said: “We found systemic historical failings in the way Betway identified and interacted with customers who were at higher risk of money laundering and problem gambling.”
Alongside the fine, Betway will be required to implement a raft of other measures to make sure similar mistakes are not made again.
According to the regulator, in one instance, Betway failed to carry out source of funds checks on a ‘VIP’ customer who deposited more than £8m. The same customer lost £4m over a four-year period.
In another instance highlighted by the investigation, Betway failed to carry out social responsible interactions with a customer who deposited and lost a total of £187,000 in just two days.
In total, due to failings and oversights, £5.8m of money flowed through the business which was or at least was suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Richard Watson, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, said: “The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them.”
CARE’s James Mildred said: “It is welcome that the Gambling Commission is taking a tough line by imposing a record fine.
“It is absolutely right that it should be cracking down on the sort of malpractice evidenced by Betway.
“To have failed to do checks on high spending customers is highly irresponsible and alongside the other failures to prevent money laundering and problem gambling, it makes the fine entirely justified.
“This story speaks to the wider challenge in that we have a betting industry that has got used to a lack of regulation.
“Meanwhile, there is a lack of support for those with gambling related harms.
“A major part of why we are in this situation is that the current laws on gambling in England and Wales are simply not working.
“The Government has promised a review of the 2005 Gambling Act and this should pave the way for genuine reform.
“We look forward to engaging with that review, as soon as it is launched and will be making the case for new laws that prioritise protecting people from gambling related harms.”