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Paddy Power fined £2.2m for inaction on problem gamblers

High street and online bookmaker Paddy Power have been fined £2.2m by the UK Gambling Commission for a raft of failings including allowing a customer to gamble nearly £900,000 which had been stolen from a dogs home in Birmingham.

During a lengthy investigation, the Commission found 'significant amounts' of stolen money had been gambled with Paddy Power's online (Betfair) exchange after it failed to carry out anti-money laundering checks. They also discovered Paddy Power did not protect three customers showing signs of gambling addiction.

The commission's inquiry centred on five customers in 2016, including two who were allowed to gamble stolen money. One of these was Simon Price, chief executive of Birmingham Dogs Home, who admitted cheating the registered charity over four years from 2012 to feed his gambling addiction.

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The executive director of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson, said: "As a result of Paddy Power failings, significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable. Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling."

Watson added: "These failings all stem from one simple principle: operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money-laundering and social responsibility obligations."

£1.7m will be donated to GambleAware, the independent charity working to reduce gambling-related harm in Britain. The money stolen from Birmingham Dogs Home by Simon Price and spent with the operator will be returned to the charity. More than £50,000 will be paid towards the commission's investigative costs.

Paddy Power chief executive, Peter Jackson, said today in a statement: "We have a responsibility to intervene when our customers show signs of problem gambling. In these five cases our interventions were not effective and we are very sorry that this occurred. In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems in responsible gambling."

 

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