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UK – Gambling Commission fines Betfred operator £2.9m for social responsibility and AML failures

By - 29 September 2022

Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited will pay a £2.87m penalty for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. The operator – which runs betfred.com and oddsking.com – will also receive an official warning for failures at the business.

AML failures included not fully taking into account the money laundering and terrorist financing (MLTF) risks connected to its business, in particular risks connected to country or geographic area, customers, transactions, and product and services.

The operator didn’t have appropriate policies, procedures and controls in place to manage and mitigate the MLTF risks, including thresholds that were inadequate, having insufficient information on customers and no evidence of ongoing monitoring prior to initial financial triggers being reached.

Policies, procedures and controls weren’t implemented effectively, including not following guidance issued by the Commission and not taking into account any applicable learning or guidelines published by the Commission.

Measures weren’t thoroughly implemented as described in the Money Laundering Regulations, including failing to identify the MLTF risks to which the business was subject and failing to establish and maintain policies, procedures and controls to manage and mitigate the risks effectively.

The operator also provided inadequate employee training, failed to scrutinise transactions to ensure that that they were consistent with their knowledge of the customer and their risk profile, and failed to conduct sufficient anti-money laundering, customer due diligence and source of funds checks.

Social responsibility failures included having no controls in place to prevent large levels of high velocity spend by new customers. One customer was allowed to lose £70,000 over a 10-hour period just a day after opening the account.

The operator set safer gambling interaction triggers too high and when customers’ spend increased considerably and no further safer gambling account review was conducted in a timely manner.

One customer was first interacted with when they had deposited £20,700 and lost £10,200 but then the next interaction did not occur until four months later when the customer had deposited £323,715 and lost £69,371.

Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement and Intelligence, commented: “This is a further example of us taking action to investigate and sanction alarming failures.

“We expect this gambling business and all other licensees to review this case and look closely to see if they need to make further improvements to demonstrate active compliance. Where standards do not improve, tougher enforcement will follow.”

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