The UK Gambling Commission has laid a substantial fine on UK giant operator BetFred.
Parent company Petfre Limited took the blow. The owner of Betfred and Oddsking.com was fined £2.8m by the GB Gambling Commission for a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failures that took place between October 2019 and December 2020.
Petfre was found in violation of section 121 of the 2005 Gambling Act, with an additional warning issued under section 117(1)(a).
A lack of action stands out in the violations. The most inciting incident is the Betfred customer who lost £70,000 within ten hours of opening their account.
A lack of sufficient response is visible in another incident where a customer was contacted by the operator after a £20,700 incurred a prompt £10,200 loss. This problematic behavior was not intervened with again by BetFred until four months later when the same customer deposited £323,715 and lost £69,371.
Customer Interaction Failures
The Commission found Petfre parent company in violation of paragraphs 1 and 2 of the social responsibility code of practice addressing customer interactions.
Policy and Procedure Breakdowns
The Commission found specific fault with what it deemed failures in Petfre’s policy and procedures to combat AML and terrorist financing risks.
Specific points of failure identified by the commission include gaps in employee training, transaction analysis, insufficient AML, customer due diligence, and source of funds checks, along with further insufficient implementation and enforcement.
Commission Spokesperson Speaks
Gambling Commission director of enforcement and intelligence Leanne Oxley called the fine an example of her organisation “taking action to investigate and sanction alarming failures.”
All Operators Should Note
Oxley urged Petfre and all licensed operators “to review this case and look closely to see if they need to make further improvements to demonstrate active compliance.”
Improve the Status Quo
Oxley chided the industry overall, promising “tougher enforcement” if standards do not come up.
Other Recent Fines
The Betfred example is not the first warning to major operators in the UK. Just last week, leading bet operator Betway got slapped with a £400,000 fine for allowing the Betay logo to appear as children’s content--on a West Ham web page which contained a colouring-in activity.
Other operators penalised recently to varying extents include Smarkets, Entain, and SpreadEx.
Along with the other recent fines, the Betfred serves as the Commission’s wake-up call asserting that the current status quo is not satisfactory. Operation in the UK requires operators to be proactive in maintaining full accountability for how their marketing messages appear on the front end.