Paddy Power Betfair Fined for £2.2m by the UKGC

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
UK Gambling Commission Has Fined Paddy Power Betfair £2.2m for Failing to Protect Their Customers

The popular UK betting group Paddy Power Betfair has been fined £2.2m by the UK Gambling Commissioner for failing to stop stolen money from being gambled by failing to properly protect their customers and proceed with the required measures for customer check.

After being warned by the gambling industry regulator in 2016, Paddy Power Betfair failed to recognize their customers' suspicious behavior and intervene when they exhibited signs of gambling problems, hence failed to properly handle the situation and proceed with the anti-money laundering checks. In fact, some of those customers committed a crime in order to continue gambling, and Paddy Power Betfair neglected to do something about it.

How Did it All Happen?

In 2016, the UK Gambling Commission has opened an investigation under the suspicion that the betting group did not carry out the proper customer checks and failed to protect customers from addictive gambling.

The investigation revealed that two regular customers were allowed to access the Paddy Power Betfair company’s betting exchange and gamble with a huge sum of stolen money.

As a matter of fact, one of the customers that were arrested the next year, in 2017, was Simon Price, the man who had defrauded his previous employer, a charity organization, £894,754. Price has cheated the charity Birmingham Dogs for over four years with the sole aim of feeding his serious gambling addiction.

Another case the regulator inspected involved three online players with suspicious social details and financial sources. The players were spending extensive time playing online, with no proper checks for their financial sources. The "extensive" time is the keyword here, something Paddy Power Betfair should have noticed and reported to the proper help organizations.

The conclusion of the investigation is that there were five players who were not adequately protected by the gambling operator even after repeatedly showing the obvious signs of a gambling addiction. Failing to recognize this addiction, Paddy Power Betfair either wanted to abuse their trust or was reckless enough to not get to know its customers as it should.

UKGC’s Report

The Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission, Richard Watson said that the consequences of the Paddy Power Betfair’s failings to do their job properly are grave. A significant sum of stolen money managed to flow through their exchange and that is something that the UKGC cannot find acceptable. With the failings, the gambling operator has broken the simplest principle – they must know their customers. Gambling operators have a duty to report and prevent crime from being present in gambling, plus they have the obligation to protect their customers from gambling addictions. They need to monitor and know their customers in order to be able to achieve that.

Due to the serious consequences, the UK Gambling Commission has fined Paddy Power Betfair with the sum of money that corresponds to the Gambling Act. So, the gambling operator will pay £1.7 million to the Gamble Aware organization, which is the independent charity that has the aim of reducing gambling-related harm. Additionally, they will pay the Birmingham Dog for the money that went through their exchange, so £500,000 will go to the victims of this unfortunate situation and the impacted parties, and £50,000 to the UK Gambling Commission for the investigation costs.

The Apologetic Statement by Paddy Power Betfair

The Chief Executive at Paddy Power Betfair, Peter Jackson, admitted they have wronged these five customers. He confirms that the responsibility to intervene whenever they notice a customer showing signs of a gambling addiction is solely theirs and expresses their deepest apologies. He further claims that they have made interventions but that these were not effective.

Additionally, Jackson elaborated that they have been investing a lot of time and effort to strengthen their systems and resources in regards to responsible gambling and have created an extensive work programme that could enhance the customer protection. But, despite all the effort, they have failed.

To show that their apologies are sincere, Paddy Power Betfair have agreed on the settlement provided by the UK Gambling Commission and are willing to pay the Gamble Aware charity, the Birmingham Dog and the even slightly impacted parties by the whole situation. As their final remarks, they express their encouragement that the UK Gambling Commission has recognized an improvement in their work and effort since the 2016 cases.

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