Bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair has been hit with a penalty by the UK Gambling Commission, after the operator was found to be in breach of its rules on social responsibility.
The fine of £2.2m was announced by the Gambling Commission at the conclusion of an investigation into a number of shortcomings at the company. According to the findings of the investigation, Paddy Power Betfair failed to step in when a gambler used significant sums of stolen charity money on its site, and had also failed in its responsibility to protect customers at risk of problem gambling.
In a statement announcing the fine, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson said that the company’s performance was unacceptable:
As a result of Paddy Power Betfair’s failings significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable. Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling.”
Watson went on to say that the key for betting companies was to know their customers, which would put them in a position to ask the right questions and so meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.
The Chief Executive of Paddy Power Betfair, Peter Jackson, admitted that the company had failed to intervene effectively in five cases of potential problem gambling in 2016, and apologised for the errors, but also drew attention to the company’s extensive awareness and customer protection investment in recent years, and noted that the Commission had recognised their improvements.
As part of the penalty, the company will make a £1.7m payment to industry charity GambleAware, and will also return £500,000 to the people affected by their failings.
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Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at email@example.com.