BetEasy Fined after Self-Excluded Gambler loses AU$720,000

08 Nov

Australian betting firm BetEasy were fined more than AU$50k (US$40k) this month after allowing a self-excluded gambler to lose more than AU$700,000 (US$525,000) – a commission finding the firm did not take responsibility for affiliates.

An investigation by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) into a private settlement between BetEasy and the customer, referred to as “The Gambler”, revealed that the betting platform failed in several areas.

The gambler, a self-excluded customer of BetEasy’s predecessor, CrownBet, was approached by BetEasy affiliate in January 2019. The affiliate, John Dow, helped the gambler to set up a new account in his wife’s name and arranged “free bets”.

Staff at EasyBet spotted the residential address matched that of a previously self-excluded customer, but the new account passed an ID verification check later that same week.

The Commission heard that the ID check “satisfied BetEasy that the account holder’s identity was verified”, this despite answers to some of their questions being incorrect. In addition, Mr Dow had told the verifiers that the “husband bets on the account and the husband is a gold VIP”.

The account went on to rack up gambling losses of $719,350, which the gambler and his wife later sought to recoup, reaching a private settlement with the gaming firm the day before the NTRC was due to hear the issue.

The Commission found that BetEasy, which merged last year into Sportsbet, had breached two of its licensing conditions, while it “may have” breached a third.

The Commission also found that the company did not have sufficient checks in place to identify problem gambling, and was scathing of BetEasy’s defence claims that Mr Dow was an affiliate, not an employee.

“The commission’s view is that a licensee should accept responsibility for the activities of its affiliate,” the report stated, adding: “An unwillingness to do so does not reflect well on a licensee.”

BetEasy was fined $26,860 for each of the two confirmed breaches, while their “account opening and customer identification practices” have been referred to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

The NTRC said the incidents would also be considered when advising the NT government on new legislation to replace the Racing and Betting Act.

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