Betway Fined Record £11.6million After Proceeds of Crime Allowed to Flow Through Company

Online betting firm Betway have been hit with a record £11.6million fine after accepting stolen money from VIP gamblers, including one customer who deposited £8million and was flagged 20 times as a risk.

By: Andrew Burnett

A United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) investigation into Betway’s practices showed that “the operator allowed £5.8m of money to flow through the business which has been found, or could reasonably be suspected to be, proceeds of crime".

The list of at least seven high-spending problem accounts included:

  • One unemployed gambler depositing £1.6million and losing £700,000, Betway relying on ‘open source’ information that the customer could afford the losses.
  • Betway accepted $494,000 from a gambler who had 11 different accounts with them, and who had previously signed up to self-exclusion.
  • Another customer depositing £187,000 in two days without being questioned as to the source of the money.
  • A customer who deposited more than £200,000 in 21 days and withdrew the same amount, later depositing another £450,000 with no Betway interaction.
  • A gambler who deposited £299,000 within 11 days and lost more than £80,000. The customer then withdrew £200,000 without verification checks being carried out, and was later convicted of fraud.

South African entrepreneur Martin Moshal was revealed last month as “one of the secretive backers” of Betway, whose ownership is “hidden behind shell companies in Malta, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands”.

A Daily Mail report on Betway earlier this year claimed that secret documents revealed “VIP managers 'groom' addicts by using manipulative messages and cash bonuses to keep them hooked.”

It also highlighted a gambler who stole £370,000 from his employer to fund his gambling addiction “after receiving hundreds of messages from Betway staff.”

In the £4million loss account the UKGC found, Betway’s board of directors allowed the gambler to continue playing, the account only closed after police contacted the company about the customer.

Labour Party MP Carolyn Harris described the industry as “morally bankrupt” and the UKGC as “complicit”, asking: “Just how exploitative has a gambling company got to be before the Gambling Commission suspends their licence?

She described the £11.6million Betway fine, despite it being a record, as “…paltry in comparison with the damage they will have caused to those caught in the web of VIP inducements. The industry is morally bankrupt, the Gambling Commission is complicit and both should be concerned that their ability to operate in this way is fast coming to an end.”


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