Online betting site Betway has been hit with an £11.6m fine by the Gambling Commission over social responsibility and money-laundering failures.
The sanction was linked to the firm’s treatment of high-spending customers. In one instance, the operator failed to carry out source of funds checks on a ‘VIP’ customer who deposited over £8m and lost over £4m during a four-year period. In another, Betway failed to carry out effective social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited and lost £187,000 in two days.
The investigation found that as a result of a lack of consideration of individual customers affordability and source of funds checks the operator allowed £5.8m of money to flow through the business which has been found, or could reasonably be suspected to be, proceeds of crime. The majority of the cash will now be divested and returned to victims.
The regulator probe also revealed inadequate management oversight and investigations into responsible personal management licence holders are ongoing.
Betway chief executive Anthony Werkman said: “Betway takes full responsibility for the small number of historic cases which have led to this settlement. We have fully cooperated with the investigation and will take further proactive steps to ensure all recommendations and findings are implemented.
“As a responsible, licensed operator extensive work has and will continue to be undertaken to greatly enhance our compliance systems, policies and processes. We have disbanded our VIP program in recognition that tighter controls were needed to ensure our customers were using our services responsibly.
“Betway has no interest in profiting from any stolen funds wagered on its sites. Where we establish that stolen funds have been used, we will ensure that the victim is fully reimbursed. For all other cases, donations are made to charities focussed on socially responsible initiatives.”
Richard Watson, executive director at the Gambling Commission, said: “The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them.”