Addict Gambles Away $1.8M of Stolen Money

Pushed by his severe gambling addiction, 44-year-old Andy May lost over $1.8 million by betting through several gambling operators. Most of the wagered sum turned out to be stolen, which reopened the discussion about regulation in the gambling industry

May got the monetary fuel for his gambling addiction from Sealskinz – the outdoor clothing company he worked for as a senior manager. The wrongdoer bet that money on the platforms of several different gambling operators such as BetwayBetfair, and BoyleSports

Wagering $1.8 Million of Stolen Funds

The bookmakers didn’t realize where May got the money from, which led to him using his company’s funds for several years. On the contrary, May was considered a loyal client and received various benefits for that, including tickets to various sports events and free bets. 

May was finally caught red-handed when his betting craves led him to accumulate massive losses. He eventually pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to four years by the Norwich Crown court.

May’s total losses with Betway between 2017 and 2019 were calculated at $830,000 by using the betting history of the operator. According to May’s testimony, about $640,000 of that sum was stolen. Betway only asked for proof of his money once. May revealed to the Guardian that he used Microsoft Paint to forge evidence and present it. Betway accepted the document and didn’t push further. May’s account went up after some successful wagers but then plummeted in a month. 

Betway wasn’t the only platform the gambling addict used. He also lost $606,000 with Betfair. The percentage of stolen money there was a bit smaller as it amounted to about $372,000 of the totality. At one time, May took a hiatus from going all out and was contacted by a VIP manager who checked on him if he was doing okay. 

Betfair later saw that May lost $375,000 in the interval between 2014 and 2016, which raised their suspicion and led them to ask for evidence of the money’s origin. However, they didn’t immediately close his account.

Some of May’s most daring bets were with BoyleSports. In 2017, in just a bit over a month between 28 March and 3 May, the gambler proceeded to make some really big bets. One of the most notable ones is a $69,000 bet on South American football.

Luck was on May’s side for a while as his account increased to $333,000. However, May wasn’t patient and bet all of this away in mere three days. The operator did not suspect any wrongdoing and continued treating him like a VIP client. 

The case reopened the important discussion about the need for diligent regulation in the gambling industry.

May’s Case Opens the Single Customer View Debate

May’s use of various operators, none of which pushed him enough for several years, shows the weak point in the gambling industry’s defenses. In fact, according to May, some of the operators he used had mistakenly written him down as a woman, further emphasizing the lack of diligence of some companies.  

People pointed out that operators should have investigated May better on the first signs of something amiss. This way, a lot of the damage could have been mitigated. 

Matt Zarb-Cousin from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling explained that the threshold of losses at which operators inquire for fund evidence should be lowered. Zarb-Cousin is a proponent of the “single customer view” and believes it can help prevent future cases of gambling addiction from running wild. The campaigner for fairer gambling is firm that this should be addressed by the government. 

BoyleSports may support some form of single customer approach but will not comment on individual cases. 

Betfair refrained from openly taking a side, but it understood the merit of being more diligent when investigating bettors. 

Betway recovered Sealskinz’ money that May stole and reported the potential fraud. According to what the operator shared, it couldn’t confirm that the documents were doctored even with a third party’s help, but there was a significant suspicion of this being the case. Betway will consider the idea of a single customer view. 

May’s case serves to show how one determined person can cause tons of harm if left unchecked and that even global companies’ precautions may sometimes not be enough. 

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