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The regulator conducted an investigation and found that in 2016 the gaming company didn't intervene after customers showed clear signs of problem betting behaviors. One of those punters had stolen funds from his employer, Birmingham Dogs Home, taking more than £900,000 over multiple years. Other punters were affected by lack of social responsibility checks by the firm.
The fine will see £1.7 million donated to Gamble Aware, a UK charity that helps with gambling addiction. The money stolen from Birmingham Dogs Home will be paid back, and £50,000 will be paid to the UKGC.
In handing out the fine UKGC Executive Director Richard Watson said, "As a result of Paddy Power Betfair's 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.
"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."
Paddy Power Betfair CEO Peter Jackson also commented on the fine, noting: "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 and customer protection."