Regulators Hit BetFred with £800,000 Fine
The UK Gambling Commission is hitting UK operator BetFred with an £800,000 ($1.1 million USD) fine for violating anti-money laundering regulations. While BetFred has acknowledged its role in the case, this version of money laundering is probably not the kind you’re thinking about.
BetFred, according to a report in The Yorkshire Evening News, took a tremendous amount of action from an accountant named Mathew Stevens from Rothwell, Leeds. This wouldn’t have been a problem save for the fact that Stevens was embezzling his roll from employers to the tune of £850,000 ($1.3 million USD).
Stevens’ compulsive gambling and larceny propelled him to VIP Status with BetFred which, in the eyes of the Gambling Commission, should have raised red flags with the operator.
That omission, the Commission charged, violated BetFred’s responsibilities as outlined by UK anti-money laundering laws. In a statement to the press, Richard Watson, programme director at the Gambling Commission, said:
We identified a number of weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls used by Betfred. The penalty package of over £800,000 reflects these failures.
BetFred, it should be noted, was not the only operator hit with a fine from the Commission recently. Watson went on to point out that his office has been very busy lately:
The commission has now concluded a wide range of cases over the last 10 months leading to around £3.75million in penalty packages. The outcomes and findings in these cases provide a clear signal to operators of the need to learn the lessons from these for social responsibility and money laundering controls, or risk facing tougher sanctions.
For its part, BetFred maintains that it was under the impression that Stevens was a professional gambler and had no reason to believe he was a thief.