Betfred Owner, Done Bros, Fined £3.25m for Regulatory Failures

Betfred fined 3.25 million pounds

18 July 2023

Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Limited, which operates Betfred, has been ordered to pay £3.25 million in settlement following the UK Gambling Commission's investigation into a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering lapses. The company, which operates 1,432 betting shops, has been found guilty of several failures over a period from January 2021 to December 2022.

The investigation unveiled that Betfred failed to implement sufficient controls to safeguard new customers, inadequately monitor high-speed spending, and assess the duration of play. These oversights potentially exposed customers to the risk of significant losses without proper safer gambling interaction.

A striking case highlighted in the investigation was of a customer who staked £517,499 over a two-month period without any safer gambling interactions, as the operator wrongly assumed that the customer was not at risk due to their winning streak.

The Commission also identified anti-money laundering failures within the company. These included poor record-keeping practices and an unusually high threshold for financial alerts. The operator also failed to consistently acquire suitable ‘know your customer‘ identification and Source of Funds (SoF) documentation from customers when required.

Additionally, the company placed undue reliance on open-source information and should have made further efforts to corroborate customers' SoF information.

All £3.25 million from the settlement will be directed towards socially responsible causes.

The Commission's executive director of operations, Kay Roberts, highlighted the importance of raising standards across the entire industry, not just online platforms. Roberts stated:

“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.”

Kay Roberts

Further details of the failings, the investigation process, and the expected improvements for the gambling industry can be found in the UKGC's public statement. Below is also a quick summary of it.

What Went Wrong?

  1. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Failures: Betfred was found to have insufficient AML controls, including a lack of proper customer identity checks, poor record-keeping, and a too-high threshold for financial alerts. 
  2. Safer Gambling (SG) Failures: The company had deficient SG measures, with the report citing several instances where customers were allowed to gamble large amounts without sufficient checks or interaction from the company.
  3. Customer Interaction Failures: Betfred did not have adequate controls to monitor customers' spending, and in several instances, failed to interact with customers who showed signs of potential gambling-related harm.

What Were the Consequences?

  1. Betfred has agreed to a regulatory settlement of £3.25 million, which will be directed towards socially responsible purposes.
  2. The settlement also includes the publication of a statement of facts about the case and payment of the Commission’s investigation costs.
  3. The operator has accepted all the Commission's findings and has started implementing an early action plan to remedy its failings.

Lessons for Other Operators

The Gambling Commission has recommended other gambling operators to consider the failings of Betfred and review their processes to prevent similar issues. They should have robust procedures to monitor customer interactions, ensure their AML and SG measures are effective, and provide sufficient training to their staff. The Commission will continue to take action against operators who fail to meet their regulatory obligations.

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