In the United Kingdom and the Gambling Commission regulator has reportedly slapped online casino and sportsbook operator Betway Limited with a record £11.6 million ($14.5 million) penalty after uncovering a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings.
According to a Thursday report from The Guardian newspaper, the firm behind such sites as Betway.com, SpinCasino.co.uk and DreamBingo.com was hit with the monumental fine after an investigation discovered that it had failed to adequately check the source of funds for seven of its high-rolling VIP customers.
The newspaper reported that one of the suspicious cases concerned a gambler who had deposited approximately £8 million ($10 million) over the course of a four-year period before going on to lose about half of this amount. Despite this account being flagged as a potential risk some 20 times, staff at Betway Limited had purportedly accepted the punter’s word as sole evidence of sufficient funding.
The Guardian reported that another suspect instance had involved the online casino and sportsbetting firm accepting deposits worth about £187,000 ($233,750) from a customer over the course of only two days without seeking source-of-funding evidence. The newspaper detailed that Betway Limited had moreover collected £494,000 ($617,620) from a third punter holding eleven different accounts despite the fact that they had previously opted to exclude themselves.
The Gambling Commission reportedly declared that Betway Limited’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering procedures had been ‘inadequate’ as the seven cases indicated that it could have allowed some £5.8 million ($7.3 million) in illicit cash ‘to flow through the business’. The regulator purportedly stated that ‘the majority of this money will now be divested and returned to victims’ with the operator furthermore now required to hand over an equivalent amount for use on programs designed to reduce gambling harm.
Richard Watson, Executive Director for the Gambling Commission, used an official Thursday press release to proclaim that his organization’s investigation suggested that Betway Limited had ‘little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them’. He additionally pronounced that this case had illustrated exactly why the management of United Kingdom-licensed iGaming operators must alter the way they handle high-rolling clientele and endeavor to responsibly interact with customers.
Read a statement from Watson…
“As part of our ongoing program of work to make gambling safer, we are pushing the industry to make rapid progress on the areas that we consider will have the most significant impact to protect consumers. The treatment and handling of high-value customers is a significant piece of that work and operators are in no doubt about the need to tackle the issue at speed. We have set tight deadlines for when we expect to see progress and if we do not see the right results then we will have no choice but to take further action. This case highlights again why progress needs to be made.”