Leah Sharman

Trainee Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 09 Apr 2024 LAST UPDATED: 15 Apr 2024

New Gambling Commission fine for Bet365

The Gambling Commission announced last week that Bet365 has been fined £582,120 for anti-money laundering and social responsibility failures. Bet365 has separate licences with the Gambling Commission for the different products it offers, and the fine is split between Hillside (UK Gaming) ENC, which holds the licenses for casino and bingo products, and Hillside (UK Sports) ENC, which holds the licence to offer betting.

Whilst the fine issued to Bet365 is not the largest the Gambling Commission have issued to a gambling operator, it is still substantial and the comments made in the Public Statement when outlining the Gambling Commission’s findings will act as a warning for other operators. Numerous gambling operators have previously faced sanctions by the Gambling Commission for various regulatory failings or shortcomings. For example, several companies within the William Hill Group were fined £19.2million last year.

Commenting on the announcement of Bet365’s fine, the Gambling Commission have said that:

“The policy and procedural failings may not have been as severe as those at other gambling businesses in recent years but they were failings nonetheless … We expect high standards from operators in terms of keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free, and will always take action to correct any failings. This operator is very aware that a repeat of these failings will result is escalating regulatory action.”

Failures identified by the Gambling Commission

During a compliance assessment conducted by the Gambling Commission in March 2022, failures were identified in relation to both social responsibility and anti-money laundering processes. These anti-money laundering failures included:

  • Bet365’s triggers for ‘enhanced customer due diligence’ and ‘know your customer’ were stated to be ineffective at managing money-laundering risks;
  • Financial sanctions checks were not completed for all new customers prior to their first deposit being made;
  • Independent verification checks were not undertaken, and there was an overreliance on customers completing annual self-verification; and
  • Bet365’s procedure document did not contain sufficient details at to which customers would be profiled as ‘at risk’ or ‘not at risk’.

In regards to the social responsibility failings identified, the Gambling Commission findings focus on Bet365’s interactions, or lack of, with potentially vulnerable customers. Bet365’s ‘Early Risk Detection System’ was found to be ineffective at understanding the impact of interactions on a customer’s behaviour and whether further action may be required. Due to this, it was found that Bet365 were unable to effectively ascertain whether a customer had properly read and understood the information and/or advice provided to them by the operator.

One of the most significant statements made in relation to Bet365’s conduct is that

“interactions were not meaningful”.

This suggests that the Gambling Commission do not think that it is sufficient for gambling operators to complete interactions which merely represent a ‘tick-box exercise’, and that operators should instead tailor interactions to a customer’s specific circumstances. Furthermore, this suggests that operators should ensure that customers engage with any social responsibility interaction, and that their responses are also considered carefully.

How can Ellis Jones help?

The Betting and Gaming Disputes Team at Ellis Jones specialises in assisting with gambling complaints and claims to help clients to either:

  1. Recover substantial funds which have been lost as a result of social responsibility failings of betting operators; or
  2. Recover significant unpaid winnings which have been withheld by the operator.

We regularly help clients to utilise complaints processes and pursue their claims via court proceedings where required, in order to recover their losses or withheld winnings. At present, we have successfully recovered over £6million for clients.

We highly recommend that anyone suffering from gambling harm seeks independent medical assistance and there are several charities and organisations available to assist in various circumstances.

Please contact us if you have sustained financial losses as a result of gambling harm and would like assistance in potentially recovering those funds at bettingclaim@ellisjones.co.uk.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

Make an enquiry

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