UK Gambling Operators Criticised for Letting Problem Gambler Wager £1.3 Million in Stolen Funds

UK Gambling Operators Criticised for Letting Problem Gambler Wager £1.3 Million in Stolen Funds. These platforms were Betfair, Betway, etc. (Image by Christopher on Unsplash)

Gambling operators in the UK won a whopping sum of £1.3 million. However, these funds were from a problem gambler who had stolen the cash, and the operators took the money without adequately reviewing the source. Once more, this finding has triggered questions about whether the gambling organizations do proper due diligence to players who lose a massive amount of cash playing in their organization.

The new week started with the sentencing of Andy May, a 44-year-old man by a Norwich crown court. He confessed that he misused funds that he stole from an organization he worked at. The Guardian, in a report, stated that Mr. May diverted money from the organization he worked at as a senior manager and placed bets worth thousands. He placed some bets worth more than £50,000 in gambling platforms like BoyleSports, Betfair, and Betway.

Based on the information attained through a subject access request, the gambling platforms offered the player numerous appealing gifts. Some of these included races, tickets to rugby and football matches, and free bets. But these bookmarkers failed to take any major step to find out if the gambler had the resources to fuel his gambling needs. The operators did very little to determine the funding source of Mr. May until he had amassed huge losses. Once it became evident that the gambling platforms did little to go through the details to the customer to ensure he was not placing bets with stolen funds and could afford his losses, they suffered lots of criticism. This is considering the fact that the UKGC recently updated its problem gambling agenda.

Court Hears that Betfair, Betway, and BoyleSports Carried out Poor Checks on Funding Sources

Information reaching the Norwich court stated that the gambler got the funds to support his gambling habit by siphoning more than £1.3 million from the clothing company he worked for, known as Sealskinz. Mr. May spent the majority of the stolen cash on online gambling platforms.

As stated by the betting records, between January 2017 to January 2019, Mr. May spent over £600,000 with Betway, and £461,000 of the entire sum coming from stolen money. Initially, the betting platform did not reach out to the player to determine the source of his wealth. It was only after he had lost £116,000 playing on Betway that the company made a move to ask questions. As earlier stated, the numerous huge bets made by Mr. May did not trigger any further input on the part of the bookmarker asides from giving him more incentives to keep playing, like free bets and a ticket to a football match played by England.

In addition, the player lost a reasonable sum of money to another online gambling operator, Flutter Entertainment, owned by Betfair. It was reported to the court that of the entire bet of £437,000 placed between 2014 -2016, about £268,000 came from stolen funds. During the court hearing, it became evident that the VIP manager at Betfair messaged Mr. May to find out if all was well when his deposits became less than before. The company only asked for evidence of his source of funds in February 2017 but made no move to close the account of the player for eight more months.

In BoyleSports, the third gambling platform, the player placed numerous bets between March 28th, 2017, and May 3rd, 2017, worth more than £500,000 combined. Even with the overwhelming evidence of a constant flow of massive bets, the betting operator made no move to get evidence of the player’s funding source. Worse still, the bookmarker continued to provide Mr. May with free bet offers until September 2020. The player also revealed that he sent details of his betting activities with numerous platforms to the UKGC, alongside one where his gender was stated as female, which was proof that there was almost no due diligence check done.


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