UKGC Criticizes Paddy Power For “Serious Failings”March 4, 2016 11:20 am
While Paddy Power seems to thrive on the notoriety its controversial advertising campaigns bring it, the Irish bookmaker recently received the sort of attention even it would have preferred to do without. According to a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) report released last week, Paddy Power was accused of “serious failings” in its anti-money laundering and anti-fraud procedures.
Amongst the examples cited by the regulator was the case of two betting shops customers who managed to launder money via Paddy Power’s fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The bookmaker was also accused of failing to
take “reasonable steps” to prevent fraud by identifying where certain online customers derived their gambling funds.
The last criticism centres upon an incident in which a gambling addict, Mark Cooney, stole around £250,000 from old or deceased customers who had accounts at the bank that he worked. While Cooney received a 28 month prison sentence for his crimes, the UKGC said Paddy Power “made no direct inquires”as to the source of the money. As the regulator explained:
“The betting company said it had flagged Cooney as “medium risk” and recommended that further information be obtained, but no action was taken. The operator acknowledged that it failed to follow its own due diligence procedures with regard to checks on customers.”
In another case, Paddy Power was also accused of actively encouraging a problem gambler to continue betting, even though his addiction caused him to lose five jobs and his home. The UKGC subsequently stated that “this was grossly at odds with the licensing objective of preventing vulnerable people from being exploited by gambling.”
Following the report’s release, Paddy Power paid £27,250 to cover the UKGC investigation, and also made a further £280,000 voluntary payment contribution to a “socially responsible” cause. In addition, a spokesperson for the company said that Paddy Power had cooperated with the UKGC throughout the whole investigation, and that it had now “strengthened its internal procedures”