UK online betting firm Betway has been ordered to pay a record £11.6m fine by the Gambling Commission for receiving stolen money, money laundering, and failing to block VIP gambling addicts who lost millions of pounds.
The UK Gambling Commission has come under fire lately for being “too weak” for not revoking the gaming license of Betway and others. However, the fine of £11.6m shatters the previous gambling penalty of £7.8m the online casino 888 paid in 2017. The fine was levied on Betway for proving “inadequate” in dealings with several customers with gambling addiction, and for failing to prevent money laundering.
In one extreme case, one customer deposited £8 million over four years without intervention. The gambler’s account was flagged as a potential risk 20 times, but Betway continued to accept wagers from the customer. Another customer deposited nearly £500,000 using 11 different accounts. The customer had signed up for self-exclusion, but Betway continued to accept this gambler’s money under new account names.
Verifying the source of gambling funds is paramount in online gambling and a requirement of the gaming license. However, on several cases, gambling addicts were using stolen funds to feed their addiction, without any oversight by Betway.
While most VIP programs offered by online casinos are designed to reward loyal players, Betway has been accused of victimizing its VIP players with various schemes. Online casinos normally ban users who register with more than one account name. This is to avoid bonus abuse, but also to verify the identity of legitimate players, keep track of payments and deposits, and to intervene when a customer gets in too deep.
Betway has been accused of allowing more than 10 accounts for single players and failing to verify the source of funding. When it was discovered that some customers were using stolen money to fund their addictions, the Gambling Commission stepped in.
Betway will pay half of the £11.6m penalty to victims of crimes committed by customers and the other half to fund gambling addiction programs.
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