Bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair has been fined £2.2m by the Gambling Commission for failing to protect customers who showed signs of problem gambling, as well as failing to stop stolen money from being gambled.
The watchdog said the company “failed to adequately interact with customers who were displaying signs of problem gambling and failed to adequately carry out anti-money laundering checks”. Two customers were using Paddy Power’s betting exchange, while another three were gambling on the firm’s retail premises as well as using its online platform.
As part of the settlement, the company said it will return £500,000 to the impacted parties and will make a £1.7m payment to charity GambleAware.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “As a result of Paddy Power Betfair’s failings significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable. Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling.
“These failings all stem from one simple principle – operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
Peter Jackson, chief executive of Paddy Power Betfair said: “We have a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling. In these five cases our interventions were not effective and we are very sorry that this occurred. In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling and customer protection. We are encouraged that the Gambling Commission has recognized significant improvement since the time of these cases in 2016. This work is continuous and we are committed to working in partnership with other operators, and with the Commission, to become better and better at protecting customers.”