Betfred charged £3.25m as UKGC seeks to raise cross-sector standards

Betfred charged £3.25m as UKGC seeks to raise cross-sector standards

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has undertaken enforcement against Betfred. The operator is being forced to pay £3.25m after an investigation revealed social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

Betfred, registered as Done Bros (Cash Betting) Limited, breached licence conditions between January 2021-December 2022. The firm is an omnichannel operator, maintaining a high-street portfolio of 1,750 betting shops, a website and an app.

The UKGC investigation highlighted three key social responsibility failures, including the use of ‘insufficient’ customer protection controls, monitoring of high-velocity spend and duration of play. 

This subsequently meant some customers were at risk of ‘substantial losses’ without a safer gambling interaction. Meanwhile, Betfred is also accused of assuming winning customers were not at risk, with one particular example being a bettor who staked £517,499 without interaction. 

Kay Roberts, UKGC Executive Director of Operations, 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.”

On social responsibility, the UKGC concluded that Betfred lacked evidence of evaluating individual customer interactions and a lack of record-keeping hindered the effectiveness of future customer interactions.

Poor record keeping was also highlighted as an AML failure, with financial thresholds also set ‘too high’ and KYC and Source of Funds (SoF) checks deemed inconsistent. The UKGC investigation concluded that the firm was overly reliant on open-source information and had not corroborated customer SoF details.

Betfred’s £3.25m payment, to be paid as part of a settlement with the UKGC and directed towards social responsibility causes, comes just a week after Star Sports’ holding company Star Racing Limited was hit with a £594,000 penalty, also for social responsibility and AML failures.

One of the more prominent betting brands on the British high street, Betfred joins the likes of Entain and William Hill – regulatory penalties against both of which broke records at the time, at £17m and £19.2m respectively – as high-profile UK gambling businesses to face regulatory enforcement from the UKGC.

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