Betfred latest to receive hefty UK fine

Betfred latest to receive hefty UK fine

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Totally Gaming
Sarah Harrison took over at the Gambling Commission last year

Betfred has become the latest operator to be fined by the UK Gambling Commission since Sarah Harrison took over as chief executive last year.

The operator agreed to an £800,000 (€1m/$1.1m) settlement after accepting stolen cash from a customer, who was allegedly offered free drinks and day trips to encourage him to keep betting.

Betfred was found to have failed to meet its obligations on social responsibility and the prevention of money laundering, after taking thousands of pounds from Matthew Stevens, a convicted thief. The accountant pleaded guilty to two counts of theft earlier this year, after funnelling cash out of the business he worked for in order to fund his gambling habit.

The Gambling Commission said Betfred would pay more than £800,000 in “compensation and in contribution towards socially responsible causes” after a review of its licence. Under the terms of the latest settlement, Betfred will pay £443,000 to the victims of the criminal activities. A further £344,500 will be paid to socially responsible causes, agreed with the commission.

The case was referred to the Gambling Commission over claims made in court that staff offered Stevens free bets and days out to go gambling, despite him racking up huge losses between 2013 and 2015.

The UK regulator announced an £880,000 settlement with Coral in April, after the bookmaker took hundreds of thousands of pounds from a problem gambler who was using the proceeds of theft to feed his habit. Earlier this year, Paddy Power was forced to pay out £280,000 after the commission found that it had encouraged a problem gambler to keep betting until he lost five jobs and his home.

TotallyGaming.com: “The Gambling Commission has flexed its muscles in recent months, forcing operators to focus on the strict terms of their licences.”

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