Betfred Ordered To Pay £800,000 Fine
Top UK bookmaker Betfred has been ordered by the UK Gambling Commission to pay a sum of over £800,000 after it was found to have accepted stolen funds from a convicted thief. The company admitted that it failed to meet the expected requirements for preventing money laundering. It did not meet its obligations on responsible gambling.
The issue arose after Betfred was discovered to have accepted cash from felon Matthew Stevens, a convicted thief. Stevens was betting on Betfred site using stolen funds, and was being encouraged to place an increasing number of bets in return for day trips, free drinks, and other incentives.
A former accountant, Stevens was found guilty of stealing more than £850,000 from his employer’s accounts over a 13-month period to fuel his addiction to gambling. He was subsequently jailed earlier this year after. The UKGC later stated that “a significant proportion of the stolen money was spent gambling with Betfred.”
The UKGC began looking into the case after Stevens revealed that he was offered numerous incentives to encourage him to continue gambling with Betfred, who in turn admitted Stevens was considered one of their VIP customers, and was in the top five percent of customers on the Betfred site.
The UKGC programme director has made a statement regarding the case, saying: “We have identified a number of weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls used by Betfred. The penalty package of over £800,000 reflects these failures. The commission has now concluded a wide range of cases over the last 10 months leading to around £3.75million in penalty packages. The outcomes and findings in these cases provide a clear signal to operators of the need to learn the lessons from these for social responsibility and money laundering controls, or risk facing tougher sanctions.”
Betfred are the latest UK bookmaker to be penalized by the UKGC in recent times and hit with a large monetary settlement. Since Sarah Harrison took over as the chief executive, Paddy Power was handed a £280,000 fine for encouraging a problem gambler to continue gambling, while Coral paid an £880,000 settlement after the company took hundreds of thousands of pounds from a customer who was using proceeds from criminal activity to fund his betting.