UKGC Hits Paddy Power Betfair with £2.2 Million Fine Package

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has hit online casino operator, Paddy Power Betfair, with a penalty package of £2.2 million for both failing to protect at-risk players and carry out appropriate anti-money laundering checks.

According to an investigation by the UKGC, the operator failed to ‘adequately interact’ with customers that were showing indications of problem gambling. The inquiry revealed that, in 2016, five customers interacted with the business who should not have been allowed to do so. Three of the five were using a combination of both the online and land-based casino outlets, while the other two were using the Paddy Power Betfair betting exchange.

As a result, the UKGC says a ‘significant amount’ of stolen money was used to fund the problem gamblers’ habits. According the UKGC statement, part of the stolen funds came from a player’s employer, a charity. Part of the money divested in the fine package will return to the charity.

Other monies from the fine include a £50,045 payment to cover the costs of the UKGC investigation, as well as a £1,717,121 payment instead of a financial penalty, which will reportedly be used to fund the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.

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. Richard Watson, UKGC Executive Director

Watson continued, “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.”

A statement from Paddy Power Betfair announced that the operator has accepted its failings and fine package, acknowledging that ‘certain policies in force at the relevant time were ineffective’. These policies are not the current ones still in place, as they have been updated since 2016 and continue to be updated, says Paddy Power Betfair.

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