Closing 2018, The Guardian newspaper reports further headaches for UK betting leadership as London law firm Mackrell Turner Garrett (Mackrell) seeks £1.5 million in victim compensation settlements against FTSE-listed betting firms’ – William Hill Plc and Paddy Power Betfair (PPB).
The victim compensation claims relate to addicted gamblers wagering with stolen money at William Hill betting shops and PPB’s Betfair betting exchange.
In both cases, Mackrell states that the betting groups failed in their obligation to prevent money laundering and intervene with visible problem gambling behaviours.
With regards to William Hill’s claim, the undisclosed problem gambler is reported to have wagered £650,000 in stolen money at two betting shops, over six months losing £150,000.
Representing victims, Mackrell seeks a settlement of £600,000 from William Hill, pointing to alleged transactions, where the gambler on two occasions wagered £50,000 in one day without the betting shops fulfilling ‘source of funds’ requirements.
The Guardian reports that William Hill’s compensation claim has been forwarded to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), who are currently investigating the matter.
With regards to PPB, the law firm seeks £965,000 in compensation, related to a UKGC sanctioned October 2018 penalty package issued against the Betfair exchange.
The concluded UKGC investigation confirmed that Betfair had failed to intervene when a gambling addict wagered with £900,000 stolen cash from a Birmingham charity, failing on standards of social responsibility.
In relation to stolen money used on betting/gambling transactions, UKGC licensed operators are not obliged to return compensation to victims unless instructed by UK courts.
Representing the victims, Mackrell states that it has initially pursued a voluntary settlement with PPB, offering management an agreement deadline which has now passed.
“I am disappointed that the Gambling Commission and Paddy Power Betfair have both failed to engage with my clients, despite offering comments to the media about their commitment to tackling the problem,” James Atton partner at Mackrell stated to The Guardian.