DUBLIN, Ireland - Online gambling operator Paddy Power Betfair has agreed to return £500,000 to impacted parties and will make a £1.7 million payment to GambleAware, as part of a £2.2 million settlement for failing to protect customers and stop stolen money being gambled.
The UK Gambling Commission Tuesday said an investigation had revealed that Paddy Power Betfair, which is headquartered in Dublin, failed to adequately interact with customers who were displaying signs of problem gambling and failed to adequately carry out anti-money laundering checks.
Two customers were using Paddy’s betting exchange and a further 3 were gambling using the operator’s online presence and retail premises.
“As a result of Paddy Power Betfair’s failings significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable. Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling,” Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive Director said Tuesday.
“These failings all stem from one simple principle, operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
Paddy Power Betfair released a statement Tuesday confirming it had reached the settlement with the UK regulator and express its sorrow over the events that lead to the investigation.
“We have a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling. In these five cases our interventions were not effective and we are very sorry that this occurred,” Peter Jackson, CEO of Paddy Power Betfair said in the statement.
“In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling and customer protection. We are encouraged that the Gambling Commission has recognised significant improvement since the time of these cases in 2016.”
“This work is continuous and we are committed to working in partnership with other operators, and with the Commission, to become better and better at protecting customers,” Jackson added.
Paddy Power Betfair is a conglomerate born out of the merger of Ireland’s 30 years old-Paddy Power, and the UK’s Betfair in September 2015.
52% of the company’s stock is held by former Paddy Power shareholders, and 48% by former Betfair shareholders.
The combined group runs 600 betting shops across Ireland and the UK.