BOOKMAKING BEHEMOTH PADDY Power Betfair has been fined £2.2 million for a range of failings in the UK, including allowing stolen money be gambled through its website.
The British Gambling Commission found that the Dublin- and London-listed company “failed to adequately interact with customers who were displaying signs of problem gambling and failed to adequately carry out anti-money laundering checks”.
Two customers used Paddy Powers’ betting exchange and a further three were gambling using the operator’s online presence and retail premises.
One had placed bets using money stolen from his employer, Birmingham Dogs Home.
The commission’s executive director Richard Watson said that “significant amounts of stolen money” flowed through Paddy Power Betfair’s exchange, which was “not acceptable”.
“Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling,” he said.
“These failings all stem from one simple principle – operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
The multimillion-pound fine consists of:
- £498,508 divestment of the money received
- £1.71 million, in lieu of a financial penalty, to help deliver the National Responsible Gambling Strategy
- £50,000 towards the Gambling Commission’s investigative costs
In a statement, Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Peter Jackson apologised for the company’s failings and acknowledged that it has “a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling”.
“In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling and customer protection,” he said.
“This work is continuous and we are committed to working in partnership with other operators, and with the commission, to become better and better at protecting customers.”
According to its latest annual report, Paddy Power Betfair generated revenues of more than £1.7 billion last year, up from 2016′s tally of £1.5 billion.
It reported an operating profit of more than £390 million, an annual increase of roughly £62 million.
Written by Órla Ryan and posted on TheJournal.ie. Additional reporting by Conor McMahon