Done Bros (Cash Betting) Limited, trading as Betfred, has reached a £3.25m settlement in the UK for a host of “serious” social responsibility deficiencies and anti-money laundering (AML) failings.
Social responsibility deficiencies include not having sufficient controls to protect new players and to monitor high-velocity spending and duration of play “exposing the customer to the risk of substantial losses without safer gambling interaction”, according to the regulator’s press release.
The operator also assumed customers were not at risk of harm because they were winning, leading it to not carry out safer gambling interactions on one customer who staked £517,499 over two months, the regulator said.
Additionally, the operator failed to produce evidence of the effectiveness of individual customer interactions and lacked recordkeeping, which limited the effectiveness of future interactions.
AML failures also included poor recordkeeping, financial alert thresholds being set too high and failure to consistently obtain appropriate “know your customer” (KYC) identification and source of funds documentation from players.
The investigation also found an “undue reliance on open-source information” and found that Betfred “should have taken further steps to corroborate customers’ source of fund information”.
Despite an analysis of the specific customer records selected during the regulatory review finding no evidence of criminal spending with Betfred, the operator still accepted that it had breached this licence condition.
A Gambling Commission investigation into the operator, which runs 1,750 betting shops in the UK, found the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) breaches occurred between January 2021 and December 2022.
Kay Roberts, executive director of operations at the Gambling Commission, said: “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,” she said.
An aggravating factor in deciding the settlement fee was that senior management should have been aware of the governance issues that led to the breaches, the commission said.
However, the operator did implement an early action plan to remedy its failings, met the commission’s timetable of providing material and responses, and accepted the regulator’s findings and early request to enter into the regulatory settlement process.