Betfred to pay $4.2M over social responsibility, AML failures uncovered by the UKGC

Betfred is set to pay £3.25 million ($4.25 million) for regulatory shortcomings after a UK Gambling Commission investigation revealed social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures. The renowned operator, which runs 1,750 betting shops, will pay the money as part of a settlement with the Commission. All $4.25 million of the settlement will go to socially responsible causes.

Social responsibility failures uncovered by the UKGC included having insufficient controls in place to protect new customers and to monitor high-velocity spend and duration of play. This exposed the customers to the risk of substantial losses without safer gambling interaction, says the regulator.

The investigation also found Betfred made assumptions that customers were not at risk of harm because they were winning customers. In one instance, the company failed to carry out any safer gambling interactions on one customer who staked £517,499 ($677,336) over a two-month period.

Moreover, the Commission found “a lack of evidence of evaluation of the effectiveness of individual customer interactions” and a lack of record keeping which the UKGC says limited the effectiveness of future interactions.

As for anti-money laundering failures, these included poor record keeping and financial alerts (thresholds) set too high. Betfred also failed to consistently obtain appropriate ‘know your customer’ identification and Source of Funds (SoF) documentation from its customers when its thresholds were met.

According to the Commission, Betfred also placed “an undue reliance” on open-source information, when it should have taken “further steps” to corroborate customers’ SoF information.

The social responsibility and AML failings occurred over various periods between January 2021 and December 2022.

Kay Roberts, executive director of operations at the UK Gambling Commission, said: “In recent years there’s been a public focus on online gambling but this case illustrates how important it is for us to continue our drive to raise standards across the whole industry.

“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.”

Betfred is the latest in a series of operators to reach a regulatory settlement with the Gambling Commission for social responsibility and AML failings. Last month, Videoslots agreed to pay £2 million ($2.6 million), while in March, William Hill was ordered to pay a record £19.2 million ($25.1 million). Moreover, earlier this month, Star Sports was fined £594,000 ($777,756) over social responsibility and AML failings.