Bookmaker News of the Week

By Martin Green24 February 2019
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Ladbrokes has come under fire for using a non-disclosure agreement to stop a gambling addict from reporting how it encouraged his illegal betting. The punter moved from the UK to Dubai and he claimed that the bookmaker showed him how to use a VPN to bypass the UAE’s restrictions on gambling and then supplied him with an iPad that already had a VPN set up on it. His gambling spiralled out of control and he stole almost £2 million from five of his customers at his mortgage investment business to pay his debts and fund his habit. He claims that Ladbrokes gave him all manner of free bets when he tried to quit and go into rehab. He was also allegedly able to move tens of thousands of pounds from his Dubai bank accounts into UK bank accounts via his online betting account, The Times reported. It agreed to pay back £975,000 in February 2019 on the condition that the punter signed a non-disclosure agreement. The Times wrote a damning leader about Ladbrokes, calling it a rotten business, while former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said the gagging order is “very sinister”.

Bet365 is also in the firing line from the national media after an undercover investigation from the Daily Mail. It reported that customers that hit a “net loss threshold” are being turned into VIP users, giving them cash back that allows them to carry on playing after racking up huge losses. The Sun then followed up the story with an article titled Dangerous Gamble. Duncan Smith, who appears poised to take over from Labour’s Tom Watson as the leading politician quoted in these stories, said: “Make no mistake – giving gamblers money to keep losing will turn them into addicts as sure as night follows day.” But Bet365 hit back” operators in the gambling industry are entitled to reward their loyal customers provided they do so in a socially responsible way, as Bet365 does. Bet365 takes specific and extensive actions to identify, monitor and assist customers who may be at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm, including by way of the suppressing of marketing material to any such customers and ensuring they are not inappropriately incentivised to intensify their gambling.”

Paddy Power could be forced to pay out around €70,000 in compensation to staff that had to work without being given proper breaks, according to the trade union Mandate. The Irish Workplace Relations Commission said this week that the operator must pay 11 workers €10,100 between them in compensation for denying them rest breaks. Robert McNamara, Mandate’s organiser, then predicted it will have to pay out more money after revealing it has lodged 78 cases on behalf of members and expected the compensation to add up to €60,000-€70,000 once they are completed. A spokesman for Paddy Power Betfair said: “We have systems in place to enable employees to take their breaks, and we will continue to ensure that our employees get them. We are disappointed with this ruling but we will be abiding by it and reviewing our processes accordingly.”

Betway has been fined Sh15 million for transferring ownership to another gaming firm without seeking approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya. It said in a report that Betway first sold a majority of its stake to GM-Gaming in 2015, which later disposed of controlling shares to yet another firm without the approval of the watchdog. The Competition Act requires that any business that acquires shares or assets of another company that results in the change of control must seek approval from the regulator.