A player from Australia lost AUS $8 million (US$ 5.6 million) on sports betting across three different operators. Now the Australian man may be facing jail time but according to him, it’s not entirely his fault as many of the operators pushed him and helped him develop a gambling addiction.
The Aussie Financial Planner and His Gambling Addiction
Gavin Fineff, a 41-year-old financial planner may be facing jail time over losing AUS$8 million (US$ 5.6 million) on sports betting. The Australian was earning AUS$130,000 (US$90,324) a year from his daytime job. But Mr Fineff was using his clients’ money, which, with allegedly the help of sports betting operators, led to his gambling addiction. He ultimately lost the AUS$8 million. Mr Fineff announced his story publically to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in order to raise awareness and stop others from walking down his path.
While he admits to his actions and understands what he has done, Mr Fineff feels that it’s not entirely his fault. According to him, three gambling operators did nothing to do to stop him, even though they knew that he had problems with gambling. Mr Fineff said: “My life is destroyed. I had to tell my wife that there’s a part of me that she had no idea about.” He did not miss to say: “They (referring to the sports betting companies) have to answer to their negligence in the same way that I’m answering to my actions.” Mr Fineff expressed hope he can someday repay the people who he betrayed and urged for major changes in the Australian laws towards the gaming industry.
The upsetting story of Mr Fineff caught the attention of an expert in the field of Financial Counselling in Australia. Lauren Levin said it was disconcerting the cases where gambling industry operators took advantage of “profitable losing gamblers.” Cited by ABC, Levin said: “They are traded like property. It’s just unbelievable.” The expert urged that Australia needs to create a National Regulator which can ultimately have the power to make companies comply with anti-money laundering legislation and push operators to prevent gambling related harms.
Starting with Bets on Horse Racing, to Losses in Millions
Mr Fineff did not have a gambling addiction prior to entering various VIP schemes and online sport betting. Without any excessive bets, he was mostly gambling on horse races, every now and then when meeting friends at the pub. But once betting became an option from his mobile phone, he felt that the situation was getting more serious.
First off, Mr Fineff signed up with TAB which is an Australian betting operator. Then, he was quickly promoted to a VIP status which gave him access to more bonus money and special VIP offers. After this moment, Mr Fineff knew he was addicted. With that in mind, by May 2018, Mr Fineff had already lost AUS$3.9 million (US$2.7 million). It was after this moment when TAB asked for Mr Fineff’s proof of income. Panicking, he refused to provide those details which resulted in freezing his account. With that in the background, TAB received an AUS$45 million (US $31.2 million) fine by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). The fine was issued because allegedly TAB breached Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering Laws.
Mr Fineff Pushed by Two More Sports Betting Companies into Additional Losses
Thinking that his days of gambling losses were over, it wasn’t that long before Mr Fineff was contacted by a competitor sports betting company. According to him an ex-employee of TAB contacted him through Ladbrokes. Although Mr Fineff was investigated due to his activities with TAB, he could not resist the offer by the Ladbrokes representative. With that in mind, Mr Fineff’s account was set up under a fictional name. In the upcoming 20 months, he lost an additional AUS $700,000 (US $486,360) to gambling.
During the time that Mr Fineff was already betting with Ladbrokes, he was contacted by a third operator. BetEasy employee, who turned out to be another ex-TAB employee contacted Mr Fineff by phone. Of that encounter, he remembers that in less than an hour, while standing in front of his house, he received AUS $50,000 in bonus money and lost it all. In the upcoming 16 months, fueled by non-stop bonus offers, Mr Fineff lost additional AUS$3.6 million (US$2.5 million) to sports betting with BetEasy. Here, it’s important to mention that at no point Mr Fineff was asked for proof of income, nor agreed to the terms and conditions of the sports betting operators.