Entain Australia Fined by Regulators in the Country

Entain Australia has been fined by regulators in the country. Australia’s Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) fined the international operator and will need to pay an amount of AU$78,540 (NZ$84,674). The company was fined because its subsidiary Ladbrokes committed different violations in Australia. The fine is lower than expected.

Gavin Fineff, a fraudulent asset manager who has been accused of swindling millions of dollars from a dozen clients, was able to play with money from clients without being checked by the casino. Fineff was charged in May 2021 with orchestrating an AU$3.3 million (NZ$ 3.56m) fraud to fund his sports betting habit that got out of control. During the 21 months Fineff played with a Ladbrokes account, he wagered with AU$17.5 million (NZ$18.86m), losing AU$758,510 (NZ$84,674), according to court documents.

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“Casino Too Concerned With Own Profit”

Fineff appeared in court in New South Wales in September 2022 where the gambling addict confessed that he had lost millions of dollars betting on sports bets. Much of the money came from friends and clients, for whom he worked as a financial advisor. According to the NTRC, Ladbrokes has done too little research into the origin of Fineff’s fundings. As a result, he was able to wager millions of dollars over a period of 21 months and received bonuses worth NZ$ 864.31 with his VIP status. NTRC chairman Alastair Shields believed that the online bookmaker was mainly concerned with their own profit.

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Entain Allowed to Keep Most of the Money

Before Fineff created an account with Ladbrokes using a pseudonym, he had already gambled with millions of dollars from his clients. The NTRC had determined that “the gambler’s true identity was known to and verified by Ladbrokes.” The first violation of the licensing code was that Ladbrokes allegedly contacted him out of the blue to play online, even after employees learned about his excessive gambling. Despite having contacted the Australian punter and the different “obvious red flags” that showed suspicious fundings, Entain did not take any measures to exclude Fineff from online play. On the contrary:

“From the very first moments of its interaction with the punter, Ladbrokes does not seem to have given due consideration to whether he could financially prove the source of the money used to finance his online gambling activities. Instead of substantively investigating whether the gambler could afford to gamble to these levels, Ladbrokes encouraged the player to open a casino account by offering attractive bonuses and discounts on deposits as an extra incentive.”

Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC)

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86 Year Old Senior Targeted

The Australian police began investigating the high-end financial advisor after receiving reports that an 86-year-old woman had been defrauded. They then found he had stolen money from 12 investors, diverting funds that were meant for shares holdings into his own bank account. In September 2022 Fineff pleaded guilty to various fraud-related offences in the New South Wales District Court. He is now expected to be sentenced next month.

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Mild Fine Amidst Heavy Accusations

The Northern Territories Racing Commission found that Ladbrokes had contacted Fineff out of the blue. That’s after employees heard about his prodigious gambling at another sportsbook, inviting him to sign up for a Ladbrokes account. This was the first breach of the code. The other two related to the company’s failure to react to red flags raised by Fineff’s excessive behaviour. The regulator determined that the bets placed by Fineff were not illegal. Despite the failings of Ladbrokes regarding its compliance with its licence and the 2016 and 2019 Codes, the integrity of each bet placed at Ladbrokes has not been undermined to the extent where each bet should not be enforced,” the regulator said.

The commission determined that Ladbrokes’ interactions with Fineff were not sufficient for the staff at Ladbrokes to “form a reasonable suspicion” that the betting funds might have been the proceeds of criminal activities.

Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC)

NTRC therefore imposed three separate fines on the company for the maximum rate with the total fine ending up being only NZ$84,674. Although the victims have not yet had their stolen money reimbursed, Ladbrokes is allowed to keep the money Fineff lost to them (AU$758,510).