Betfair Australia has seen itself in a brush with authorities. In the latest case, the operator has been ordered to refund AUS$150,000 to a problem gambler.
Betfair in Australia and Problem Gambling
Australia has been trying to rein in the reach of illegal bookmakers. Much efforts have been done to stem the tide of companies that aren’t allowed to operate in the continent. The county’s media regulator, ACMA, recently congratulated the efforts of government and institutions to clamp down on the reach of illegal operators, citing 33 closed websites in the 12 months before the announcement.
Meanwhile, oversight over the regulated bookmakers has been tightening just as well. The online exchange, Betfair Australia was ordered to pay AUS$150,000 to a customer who has clearly been identified as a problem gambler.
The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) conducted an investigation which established that the individual was exhibiting symptoms and that the operator had failed to recognize them and limit the aforementioned individual’s access to the facilities of the bookmaker.
As a result, the NTRC made it clear that Betfair had to be held responsible for not having flagged the customer and sought to assist him. The affected party, an unidentified individual, was a “good customer” at Betfair. After playing through a substantial sum to the tune of AUS$170,000 the person had decided to cash out and walk away from the platform.
However, he had a sudden change of heart which put him in communication with Matt Reid, a Betfair Manager. The customer first had contacted a customer support agent demanding that his withdrawal be stopped, but upon explanation that this was impossible, he then requested to be patched through someone higher up the chain.
Mr. Reid spoke to the customer, too, and after consideration, agreed to return the funds to the customer’s account rather than send them directly to their bank. Mr. Reid initially thought, that out of the AUS$150,000, only AUS$5,000 had to remain in the account, but the customer said that he would rather have the AUS$145,000 to play with and have the other AUS$5,000 sent to his bank account instead.
Mr. Reid, the NTRC estimated, had failed to recognize the problematic behavior of the gamer, something that they themselves had claimed in their complaint to the authorities. This is perhaps true, given that the customer had already played through AUS$170,000 before deciding to recall his funds.
Betfair, still mounted a defence that maintained that the gamer was not exhibiting signs of problem behavior, even given his recent wager. Looking into the history of the affected party, the individual had excluded himself once in 2014 for six months and they took a short break back in 2016.
However, there was nothing to suggest that the gamer was exhibiting symptoms of problematic gambling behavior. The NTRC also established gaps in the screening process of Betfair with regards to previous demands from the customer to be approved for a VIP status.
Siding with the customer, the NTRC has explained that Betfair failed to comply with its regulatory responsibilities and had to repay the sum in full to the customer instead.
Even though the reception of Betfair has been quite warm, it’s likely that in Australia’s tightening regulatory market, the company will have to improve upon its screening process.