Lisa Cheban | 11 August, 2023 10:22 | Last update on: 11 August, 2023 10:22
The UK Gambling Commission has been flexing its muscles in the country’s iGaming industry, dishing out heavy fines to regulators found guilty of violating the gambling laws. In fact, 888 Holdings, a leading operator in the country, recently announced that its operating license is “under review” by the Gambling Commission.
UK Casino Betfred has become the latest operator to fall on the regulator’s chopping board. This is after the company was fined £3.25 million following investigations that uncovered social responsibility and anti-money laundering shortcomings.
The investigations reveal that Betfred (Done Bros (Cash Betting) Ltd) violated the terms of its permit between January 2021 and December 2022. This omni-channel company operates 1,750 high-street bookmakers and a popular betting/gambling website.
Three critical social responsibility breaches were brought to light by the UKGC inquiry. The Gambling Commission has accused Betfred of the following social responsibility failures:
- Having “inadequate” client protection procedures
- Not tracking high-velocity spending
- Failure to monitor playtime duration
According to the regulator, Betfred did not maintain safe gambling standards, exposing some clients to potential “substantial losses.” Betfred is also accused of believing winning customers were not in danger. The Gambling Commission cited a specific instance where a gambler staked £517,499 without interaction.
The UKGC concluded that Betfred lacks requisite documentation to prove that it analyzed specific consumer interactions, hindering the effectiveness of subsequent client encounters.
Meanwhile, the regulator singled out poor record-keeping as an anti-money laundering failure. The UKGC also cited inconsistent KYC and Source of Funds (SoF) checks as well as ‘very high’ financial thresholds. The UKGC investigation concluded that the betting company had not verified consumer source of funds information and was unduly dependent on open-source data.
Commenting on the fine, Kay Roberts, Executive Director of Operations of the Gambling Commission, remarked: “In recent years there’s been a public focus on online gambling but this case illustrates how important it is for us to continue our drive to raise standards across the whole industry. Gambling is a legitimate leisure activity enjoyed safely by millions but it is vital that every single operator – either online or offline – has in place effective safeguards to prevent harm or crime.”
The government will channel Betfred’s £3.25 million fine towards social responsibility initiatives. This fine comes just one week after Star Sports’ parent company Star Racing Limited was fined £594,000 for anti-money laundering violations and social responsibility failings.
Betfred joins Entain and William Hill as popular UK gambling companies subject to strict regulatory enforcement from the Gambling Commission. The fines against William Hill and Entain have broken records at £19.2 million and £17 million, respectively.