Gala Coral have been ordered by the gambling regulator to pay out nearly £880,000 for taking £846,000 from a problem gambler who was using the proceeds of theft to feed his habit.
The perpetrator of the crime, a customer between 2012 and 2015, has been jailed for three years, and Gala Coral have promised to ‘take steps to improve its anti-money-laundering and social responsibility processes’.
As reported in the Guardian, Coral will have to pay out after failing in its duty to prevent money laundering and problem gambling. The bookmaker will pay £846,000 to the victim of the crime and £30,000 to “reflect the cost” of the commission’s investigation.
The Gambling Commission said that safeguards in place were ‘not adequate’ and that the company had failed to look into the source of the man’s wealth, instead relying on ‘uncorroborated’ suggestions that he was independently wealthy.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Programme Director, said: “We expect the industry will learn the lessons from this case, as it is their responsibility to keep crime out of gambling and protect vulnerable people from harm.
“We know that Gala Coral have reflected heavily on this case and have assured us of actions they have taken to address the failings. Operators must proactively monitor customers to keep gambling safe and free from crime.”
The settlement comes quickly after Paddy Power were forced to pay out £280,000 earlier this year, when the commission found it had encouraged a problem gambler to keep betting until he lost five jobs, his home and access to his children.