Betfred Fined £3.25m Over Social Responsibility and AML Failings, Ordered by UK Gambling Commission.

OCR Editor. - July 18, 2023
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The UK Gambling Commission has imposed a £3.25m penalty on Betfred, trading as Done Bros, for significant social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) breaches. The regulatory settlement follows an investigation revealing failures in AML policies, procedures, controls, and social responsibility practices.

Betfred, known as Done Bros, has been instructed by the UK Gambling Commission to pay a £3.25m penalty for significant breaches of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. The regulatory settlement comes after an investigation uncovered a range of failures in AML policies, procedures, controls, and shortcomings in social responsibility practices.

The investigation, conducted by the UK Gambling Commission, found that Betfred exhibited deficiencies in implementing AML policies, procedures, and controls. The operator also displayed inadequate social responsibility policies, procedures, controls, and practices between January 2021 and December 2022.
Specific social responsibility failings identified by the Commission included a lack of controls to protect new players and a failure to monitor high-velocity spending and duration of play. These deficiencies exposed customers to the risk of substantial losses without appropriate safer gambling interactions. Betfred also assumed that winning customers were not at risk of harm, neglecting to carry out necessary safer gambling interventions.

In terms of AML failings, poor record-keeping and the setting of high financial alert thresholds were highlighted by the Commission. Betfred also failed to obtain the required "know your customer consistently" (KYC) identification and source of funds (SoF) documentation from customers when predetermined thresholds were met. The operator relied heavily on open-source information without taking sufficient steps to verify customers' SoF details.

The UK Gambling Commission outlined specific breaches of licensing conditions, including inadequate assessments of the risk of the business being used for terrorist financing and money laundering. Betfred failed to detail risks and countermeasures associated with monitoring customer transactions across multiple licensed betting offices, products, and platforms. Additionally, the operator failed to implement appropriate policies, procedures, and controls to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

The settlement reached with Betfred includes a £3.25m payment, which includes divestment of £1.05m. The operator has also agreed to cover the investigative costs incurred by the Commission and consented to the publication of details regarding the case.

Kay Roberts, the UK Gambling Commission's executive director of operations, emphasized the importance of maintaining high standards across the entire gambling industry. She stated,

Gambling is a legitimate leisure activity enjoyed safely by millions, but every single operator - either online or offline - must have in place effective safeguards to prevent harm or crime.

Betfred joins other operators who have faced regulatory settlements with the UK Gambling Commission for social responsibility and AML failures. Videoslots, William Hill Group, and Star Racing are among the companies that have been fined for similar breaches. These regulatory actions underscore the Commission's commitment to upholding industry standards and ensuring the protection of players.

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