Murmur On The Dancefloor, bet365 Rapped For AML Breaches

In a move that would have sent most private individuals into financial, life-changing, oblivion, bet365, owned by billionaire Denise Coates, the richest woman in Britain, has been fined £582,180 (US$735,520) by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for money laundering breaches.

“The policy and procedural failings may not have been as severe as those at other gambling businesses in recent years but they were failings nonetheless,” said UKGC Executive Director of Operations Kay Roberts in a statement.

“We expect high standards from operators in terms of keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free, and will always take action to correct any failings.

“This operator is very aware that a repeat of these failings will result in escalating regulatory action.”

No personal blame was, or is, attached to Ms. Coates.

The AML failings were uncovered by the UKGC in a routine Compliance assessment in March 2022, and were said to have taken place between October 2021 and September 2022.

Bet365, as is their norm, declined to comment to the media.

High Risk

The fine–to be dispersed to social causes–is the first-ever regulatory action taken by the UKGC against bet365, which is wholly owned by Denise Coates and other family members.

In their ruling the UKGC said bet365 failed to apply anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) checks on new high-risk customers before their first deposits, and in many cases failed to conduct independent verification protocols.

Fiercely-private Denise Coates (pictured, above) and her close family team have transformed a relatively humble betting shop inheritance in the British West Midlands into a global iGaming empire.

Last year the 56-year-old, mother-of-five, took a salary of more than £220 million (US$277.94m), and a dividend of £50 million (US$63.16m).

According to financial bible Forbes, the Coates family, also owners of Championship, second-tier, Stoke City Football Club, and prominent patrons of the arts, are worth some £7 billion (US$8.84bn).

As such, for bet365, the UKGC fine, while disquieting, can be likened to a “mere” murmur — especially when compared to the recent £615 million (US$778.59m) sanction imposed on Entain for historic money laundering misdemeanours while operating as GVC Holdings under the Sportingbet banner in Turkey.

Nevertheless all is not perfect in the bet365 world sphere.

The iGaming giant’s low-key campaign in the booming American online sports betting market has run into soft going and the company is facing further AML/CTF investigations by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre watchdog Down Under.

One hopes that bet365 doesn’t follow those other British betting icons, Entain and 888, where murmur has spun into murder on the gambling dancefloor.

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