Betway Under Review for Accepting £370,000 of Stolen Funds

British betting firm Betway is facing a penalty after the UKGC found out the company had allowed a problem gambler play through £370,000 of money stolen from said person’s employer.

Betway in Hot Water over Problem Gambler

One of the United Kingdom’s largest gambling operator, Betway, has come under review by the national regulator, the UK Gambling Commission, for allowing a problem gambler play through £370,000 of stolen cash.

If the UKGC finds Betway guilty, this would merit a stiff fine as it would be proof for lack of compliance with KYC and AML practices upheld by the regulator.

According to the investigation, the company had failed to establish the source of the money, but also missed the fact the individual, one Ben Jones, aged 30, suffered from a severe case of gambling addiction.

A Sweet Deal

To fuel his gambling habits, Jones stole from his employer, The Cake Decorating Co., a retailer operating cake decorating supplies business in the United Kingdom. Apparently, Jones had been fueling his addiction for years now, starting back in 2015 when he first began pocketing £5,000 monthly from his employer.

Later, he became bolder, taking off £30,000 a month. To make sure nobody suspected, Jones dispatched orders, but asked customers to pay to his bank account directly. He would then change computer records to make sure the company was none the wiser.

However, in November 2018, he forgot to send an already paid-for order, which prompted the customer to make a complaint, which led to uncovering his theft over the years.

Gambling Addiction in the Public Eye

Defending his client in court, Jones’ attorney, Omran Belhadi, said his client suffered from a psychiatric disorder, referring to his addiction. Nevertheless, Jones will have to serve 18 months in custody as well as undergo a probation period.

Belhadi’s defense, however, rang with the public at a time when the United Kingdom is taking a closer look at gambling addiction and looking for way to help individuals.

Meanwhile, the Cake Decorating Company was on the brink of shutting-down shortly after the fraud was uncovered, with owner Daniel White confirming that the fraud has affected business, but everything had been restored to normal since November.

Justice for the Victims

Commenting on the case, the UK Gambling Commission has said that it would seek justice for the victims, and specifically demand from Betway to reimburse the Cake Company.

Betway is facing a stiff penalty as the operator has failed to run basic checks establishing the source of the money as well as failing to do basic checks to ensure the player wasn’t a gambling addict.

So far in 2019, the UKGC has already imposed tough penalties on multiple companies failing to meet regulatory standards. In July, the watchdog hit Ladbrokes with a £5.9 penalty over similar problem-gambling and money-laundering issues, sending a clear message to operators to try and comply with the established regulatory norms.

Measures to improve on gambling addiction in the United Kingdom have been intensifying. Just recently, betting firms have agreed to deploy the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS), designed to introduce a cooling off period for players who stake too much, too quickly.

This comes on the tail of a fixed-odds betting terminal ban introduced earlier to change the maximum betting limit from £100 to £2, which has sent repercussions across business.

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