Betway to pay £11.6m after investigation

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
Betway fine
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The Gambling Commission has announced today that sports betting and online casino site operator Betway is being forced to pay a record breaking £11.6m after an investigation determined that they had not been carrying out proper procedures relating to their VIP customers.

The investigation found that measures to ensure social responsibility and prevent money laundering had not been properly carried out. These failures resulted in £5.8m moving through of the business that the Gambling Commission have reason to believe was generated via illegal means. 

In one such instance, a VIP player was able to deposit £8m and lost £4m over a four year period without any checks relating to the source of the funds being carried out. The majority of the illegal money laundered through Betway will be returned to the victims of the crimes that it originated from.

These failures are not just letting criminals launder money using gambling sites, they are also enabling and even encouraging problem gamblers to spend beyond their means without the proper checks, even rewarding them with VIP status.

The Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, Richard Watson said “The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them.” This fine is the latest in a series of moves by the Gambling Commission to prioritise the safety of problem gamblers and reduce gambling harm overall.

The Gambling Commission has also recently announced a total ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling and a push to make GamStop mandatory on all online gambling sites with UK licences, reaffirming their commitment to protecting gamblers, even as public perception of gambling worsens.

What is a VIP player?

Players who deposit large amounts at online casinos are often given a VIP status, this rewards them by offering exclusive deals, faster withdrawals and sometimes luxurious gifts. This practice has come under fire for enticing players to make huge deposits and huge losses, which enables problem gambling. 

A recent report suggests that the UK gambling industry relies too much on VIP players, with an average 50% of the value of all deposits made coming from VIP players alone, even though VIP players only make up 5% of the total player base.  

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