Betway Stung by Biggest Ever Gambling Fine
by Glenn Baird - March 12, 2020
Today, the UK Gambling Commission dished out its biggest ever fine, making it clear to all operators in the UK that they are prepared to hit those who don’t comply hard.
Betway were dealt a fine of £11.6m for issues relating to money laundering and problem gambling, the largest fine of its kind ever in the UK.
Despite the list of misdemeanours, Betway will not have their licence revoked or suspended and will continue to operate as before.
Previously the largest fine that the UKGC had administered was £7.8m to 888 back in 2017, which suggests that recent calls for the regulator to do more to keep at risk gamblers safe may have been listened to.
Betway accepted roughly £8m of deposits from a single customer over the course of 4 years. The customer in question is reported to have lost £4m and had been flagged up as a potential at risk customer on 20 separate occasions.
A report could not confirm if the player was able to afford the bets and was then allowed to continue gambling, something that only ended once the police got involved.
Another customer is reported to have deposited more £1.6m, losing more than 700,000 despite not having a job to pay for their bets.
The company also accepted nearly half a million in bets from a customer with 11 separate accounts who had previously self-excluded from gambling.
The UKGC responded to this specific case by stating: “Betway could not provide evidence of any social responsibility interactions being carried out with this customer.”
However, it would appear that the fine alone has not been enough for some, with Labour MP Carolyn Harris saying: “Just how exploitative has a gambling company got to be before the Gambling Commission suspends their licence?
“Betway’s fine for calculated and deliberate manipulation of VIP customers is paltry in comparison with the damage they will have caused to those caught in the web of VIP inducements.
“The industry is morally bankrupt, the Gambling Commission is complicit and both should be concerned that their ability to operate in this way is fast coming to an end.”
Richard Watson, an executive director at the UKGC said: “The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them.”
“We have set tight deadlines for when we expect to see progress and if we do not see the right results then we will have no choice but to take further action,” said Watson.
“This case highlights again why progress needs to be made.”
Betway’s CEO, Anthony Werkman, said: “Betway takes full responsibility for the small number of historic cases which have led to this settlement. We have fully cooperated with the investigation and will take further proactive steps to ensure all recommendations and findings are implemented.”
The company will pay £5.8m to the customers they failed to preotect with he rest going to the UKGC.