Dealing with the consequences
Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited has been hit with a £2.9m ($3.1m) financial penalty as a result of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced the fine on Wednesday for the operator of the Betfred and Oddsking brands. In addition to the financial penalty, the company has also received an official warning from the UK regulator.
Petfre fully cooperated with its investigation
The UKGC’s investigation into Petfre uncovered the various offenses between October 2019 and December 2020. The UKGC noted that Petfre fully cooperated with its investigation and straight away made changes in order to address the failings. There was also no evidence that criminal funds were being spent on any of Petfre’s platforms.
In terms of the social responsibility failures, the UKGC found that there was an absence of controls that would stop new customers from overspending in a short space of time. In one case, a new user was able to lose about £70,000 ($75,000) in ten hours. Petfre had also set its safer gambling interaction triggers at too high of a level. This meant that when the spending of a given customer rose significantly, there was often no timely account review.
There were a handful of different anti-money laundering failings. Petfre was found to not have properly accounted for the terrorist financing and anti-money laundering risks inherent to its industry.
lack of monitoring before customers hit financial triggers
There were not proper systems in place to mitigate these types of risks. Certain thresholds were not adequate and there was a lack of monitoring before customers hit financial triggers. Some of the other issues included employees not receiving proper training and ineffective customer source of funds and due diligence checks.
Taking no prisoners
Speaking about the financial penalty for Betfred’s owner, UKGC director of enforcement Leanne Oxley said: “This is a further example of us taking action to investigate and sanction alarming failures.”
She called on other licensees to review Petfre’s failings in order to see if there are any improvements that they can make with their own compliance. If these standards don’t improve, Oxley underscored that tough enforcement will follow.
The UKGC has been cracking down on licensees that have social responsibility and/or anti-money laundering failings. In August, it issued a record-breaking £17m ($18m) fine to Ladbrokes owner Entain over the same types of issues. Other operators to receive a seven-figure fine so far in 2022 include SpreadEx, 888 UK, and Camelot.