Online sportsbook, Betway like to be number one in the industry. And so their new honor came as a nice surprise. In fact it was a record fine for Betway of $11.6 million for accepting bets with stolen funds. Next to actually losing their licence, this was the UK’s biggest fine for a bookmaker and was part of a settlement for a number of serious compliance failings.
Introduction: Record Fine For Betway
The last big fine imposed on a bookie was in 2017, when another company was fines a total of $7.8 million for similar reasons. Obviously the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) doesn’t mess around. This time really showed that they have teeth which they are very much willing to use. The infractions revolve around a number of high rollers or VIP customers, and the fact that some of them were using stolen money to satisfy their gambling habits.
We Don’t Care Where You Got The Money
Well paint me surprised, but Betway had no checks in place. Or simply didn’t care as to the source of the funds being put up for some pretty big wagers. In one instance, over $7.3 million came into a Betway account which the ULGC believe was the results of crime. Part of their licencing agreement, laid down by parliament, is that financial checks are made as a matter course in pursuit of any money laundering. In yet another instance, online sportsbook news in the UK reports that Betway turned a blind eye towards another customer who deposited over $10 million and then lost $4 million over the course of the next four years. And this was from an account that had previously been flagged as suspicious over twenty times.
We Kinda Checked (Not Really)
Not surprisingly, this gambler, “Customer B”, was one of the company’s biggest fish. With the suspension of his account only after the police made direct contact with Betway. Then there’s the story of “Customer C”. He happily deposited $2 million and then proceeded to lose $882,000 over the period of the next three years. The funny thing was that he was “without employment” during that time!
After providing a false employment record, there was never any checking by Betway to see if it was true. Finally closing Customer’s C account only after his confession to Betway that the money wasn’t his to spend. Whoops!
Record Fine For Betway: Lucky Not To Lose Licence
“The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them,” said the UKGC Executive Director, Richard Watson, in an official statement. The treatment and handling of high value customers is a significant piece of that work. Operators are in no doubt about the need to tackle the issue at speed,” he noted. Hard on the heels of this, the UKGC is in the process of making a complete overhaul of gambling regulations. This’ll effect all online sportsbook sites in the UK. And VIP schemes are now most defiantly under the spotlight. In spite of this record fine for Betway, there are those who claim that this is barely more than a slap on the wrist. After all these are extremely wealthy companies.
UKGC Not Fit For Purpose
Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP, has previously called out the UKGC as “not fit for purpose.” She told the Guardian Newspaper that Betway should of lost their licence. Or at least had it suspended, for such a huge “oversight”. She has a point.