Ladbrokes Fined in Australia for Failing to Limit Damage of Gambling Addict
Ladbrokes fined for failing to limit damage caused by financial adviser with gambling addiction.
Ladbrokes, a sports wagering company, has been fined AUD 78,540 ($52,264) by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) for serious breaches of its license, including failing to limit the damage caused by a financial adviser who stole millions of dollars from his clients to service his gambling addiction. According to the commission, Ladbrokes failed to investigate whether the adviser could afford his extensive bets and the source of his money. Instead, the company enticed him to spend more money with bonuses worth AUD 528,890.
The NTRC found Ladbrokes had encouraged the gambler to open a betting account, rather than making inquiries into his ability to afford to gamble at such levels. It also found that Ladbrokes was more focused on realizing its own profits from the gambler rather than providing a responsible gambling environment. The victims of the adviser’s crimes never got their money back, and the $758,510 he lost to Ladbrokes has not been returned.
A spokesperson for Ladbrokes’s parent company, Entain, said it accepts the NTRC ruling and has since invested significantly to strengthen its approach to customer protection. The director of policy and campaigns at Financial Counselling Australia, Lauren Levin, said Ladbrokes "failed its legal and moral duty to protect a customer who was clearly and knowingly at risk."
The adviser has pleaded guilty to multiple fraud-related offenses in the New South Wales district court and is awaiting sentencing. According to Levin, the NTRC’s judgment was "the most significant decision of the decade" and could set a precedent for gambling companies being required to investigate whether punters can afford bets before they are accepted.