Bookmaker Betfred has been fined almost £2.9 million over gambling safety and money laundering failings, the industry watchdog has announced.
The gambling giant, owned by billionaire Tory donor brothers Fred and Peter Done, was found to have accepted tens of thousands of pounds from gamblers without performing adequate safety checks.
The "alarming" failures include one customer being allowed to lose £70,000 in a 10-hour period just a day after opening an account, the Gambling Commission said.
It also criticised Betfred for setting safer gambling interaction triggers “too high”, meaning that reviewing accounts in relation to safer gambling did not happen in a “timely manner”.
The watchdog said one customer was first contacted when they deposited £20,700 and lost £10,200, but the next interaction did not occur until four months later when the customer had deposited £323,715 and lost £69,371.
The commission said flaws were also found in the company’s controls to prevent money laundering - the process of concealing the origin of money, obtained from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, corruption, or gambling, by converting it into a legitimate source.
Betfred will pay a £2.87m penalty. That is the equivalent to approximately two days of revenue for the company.
The bookmaker will also receive an official warning from the Gambling Commission.
Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission director of enforcement and intelligence, said: “This is a further example of us taking action to investigate and sanction alarming failures.
“We expect this gambling business and all other licensees to review this case and look closely to see if they need to make further improvements to demonstrate active compliance.
“Where standards do not improve, tougher enforcement will follow.”
A Betfred spokesman said: “We will work with the UK Gambling Commission and continually review all our anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies.
“During our assessment, the commission found no evidence of criminal activity. We remain committed to providing a safer gambling environment for our customers.”
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