NT Racing Commission Orders Betfair to Repay $150,000 to Problem Gambler

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A landmark verdict by the NT Racing Commission in Australia orders iGaming provider Betfair to pay back $150,000 (€133,080) to a problem gambler after failing to detect his betting habits as red-flag behavior.

After ruling that Betfair Australia should have detected the red-flag behaviors displayed by a gambler at its site earlier this year, the NT Racing Commission has decided that the brand must repay a total of $150,020 (€133,100) based on a withdrawal request by a player from February 2018. The player filed a complaint with the commission claiming that Betfair was not in compliance with the Responsible Online Gambling Code 2016 regarding his request to withdraw funds.

Withdrawal reversal

The big-spending customer asked Betfair Australia to cash out $150,000 (€130,080) from his account at Betfair and deposit the funds into his bank account back in February. Just hours later, after losing $190,000 (€168,582) in a short period, the player asked the site to reverse the transaction, leaving the funds in his online gambling account.

It took a few phone calls, but Betfair finally agreed to reverse $145,000 (€128,655), calling it a “one-off” and the gambler kept at it, losing bets he placed with the money on the very same day. Only $5,000 (€4,436) remained in the player’s bank account, but he lost that amount the next day.

The NT Racing Commission was brought in by the gambler. After their investigating, the commission ruled that the operator should have been able to identify red-flag behaviors by the player, including gambling for an extended period, betting pattern changes, deposit frequency increases, and an increase in the amount of money that was deposited into the player’s account.

The commission pointed out that Betfair knew that the player had self-excluded himself on two occasions, stopping his access to the site. The player, who remains anonymous, also increased the amount of his deposits in a two-month time frame before the incident occurred. In 2016, the player deposited $22,000; in 2017, he deposited more than double that, at $47,000. These amounts are quite small when considering that $380,000 was deposited during the first two months of this year, around the time the incident occurred.

The Commission stated: “There is evidence that Betfair should have reasonably seen some red-flag behaviors. It is reasonable in the circumstances, and particularly given full knowledge of the complainant’s previous self-exclusions and time-outs from his account, that a review of all his betting activity up to the time of the request to cancel the withdrawal to be carried out.”

Turning point

According to the commission, if Betfair had reviewed the player as they should have, it would have easily been seen that he had lost a significant amount of cash the day before the request was made to cancel the withdrawal transaction. The decision to fine Betfair by the Commission is being called a turning point in the gambling industry, sending a signal to operators that obligations to stop accepting wagers from red-flagged players cannot be ignored.

The decision by the commission comes when new standards are being created within the online gambling industry and there is a call for stricter requirements as to how sites monitor deposits made by players and keep track of activity by big spenders.

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