William Hill and Paddy Power Sued For £1.5m By Victims Of Gambling AddictsDecember 12, 2018 2:33 pm
Two of Britain’s biggest bookmakers, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair, are being sued for £1.5 million by the victims of gambling addicts who had their stolen money gambled away at shops belonging to the UK bookmakers.
£650k in Stolen Funds Wagered at William Hill
The lawsuit filed against William Hill accused the company of failing in its responsibility to prevent money-laundering and problem gambling. Over a six month period, an unnamed gambler reportedly bet a massive £650,000 at two William Hill shops, losing a total of £150,000 in the process. On two occasions, he was even allowed to spend more than £50,000 in bets during a single day, including numerous £1,000 wagers on horse and greyhound races.
Ignoring suspicious signs, the William Hill stores placed sports bags full of his cash behind the counter for safekeeping whenever requested, allowing him to withdraw his funds when he wished to place a bet.
William Hill Falls Foul Of AML Rules
The gambling addict in question says he worked within Dubai’s property industry, but stole money from clients which he subsequently gambled and lost after traveling to the UK. If he tries returning to Dubai, he will be arrested for writing a check that he didn’t intend to honor, still considered a crime in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In April, the gambler was subsequently interviewed by the Metropolitan police, but has not faced formal charges after agreeing to help his victims seek compensation from William Hill.
Meanwhile, William Hill stands accused of breaching its duty to prevent gamblers wagering more than they can afford, as well as failing to ascertain the source of their funds. In fact, the gambling company allowed the addict to wager £458,000 over a three month period ending September 20, 2016, before inquiring as to the source of his money.
Mackrell Turner Garrett, the law firm acting on behalf of the addict’s victims, is seeking £600,000 by way of compensation against William Hill. While the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is currently investigating the matter, it has thus far refused to comment on the matter. For its part, a William Hill statement explained:
“We are aware of a number of allegations by [name withheld] and have been waiting for months for them to be substantiated. We continue to await this information and note he has not been subject to any police investigation or prosecution with regards to the alleged thefts.”
Paddy Power Faces £965k Claim Over Addicts’ Bets
One of the UK’s other biggest bookies, Paddy Power, has also had a £965,000 compensation claim filed against it my law firm Mackrell Turner Garrett. In October, the gambling firm received a huge £2.2 million fine from the UKGC for failing to carry out sufficient anti-money laundering checks, and protect at-risk players. In fact, one of the five addicts involved stole part of the funds from his employer, a charity.
As part of its regulatory settlement, Paddy Power was expected to voluntarily return the funds to the victims, although it is not legally required to do so unless forced to by the courts. Needless to say, it has thus far failed to hand over the money. As a result, the victims have now contacted Mackrell Turner Garrett to force Paddy Power to compensate them for their losses. Commenting upon the situation, one of the gambling addicts explained:
“I want to help the victims who have suffered from this, expose gambling companies for how they behave and help other gamblers like me and make them aware that there’s help out there. I’m happy to face any criminal action that may come, i’ll do anything I can to help my victims get their money back.”
For its part, Mackrell partner James Atton has expressed his disappointment that both the UK Gambling Commission and Paddy Power Betfair have thus far failed to engage with his clients, “despite offering comments to the media about their commitment to tackling the problem.”