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Ladbrokes defends actions after problem gambler allegations

| By iGB Editorial Team
Bookmaker allegedly asked victims of problem gambler who stole their money not to tell regulator as part of settlement

Ladbrokes has defended its actions after a leading UK newspaper claimed the bookmaker asked victims of a problem gambler who stole money in order to fund his habit not to report the matter to regulators.

The Guardian reported yesterday that Ladbrokes agreed to pay out £975,000 (€1.08m/$1.23m) to the individual's five victims. As part of this settlement, the newspaper claims, the recipients agreed “not to bring any complaint or make any report to any regulator in relation to the claim”.

While Ladbrokes' parent company GVC Holdings said that it did not comment on individual cases, asking parties to keep the contents of dispute settlements confidential was a standard provision of such agreements.

“This is quite separate from our own reporting obligations to the Gambling Commission,” GVC explained. “We notified the commission of this case at the relevant time and will continue to co-operate with our regulator in accordance with our licensing requirements.”

The Guardian makes a number of allegations regarding Ladbrokes' dealings with the individual in question, claiming to have seen evidence that it offered him a series of gifts in an effort to retain his custom. This apparently included tickets and travel to football, boxing and horse racing events, a Christmas hamper and depositing money into his account.

The individual claims that he told his account manager at Ladbrokes at the start of a five-month hiatus from gambling with Ladbrokes that he feared he had a problem and was trying to give up. There is no evidence of such a discussion.

However, Ladbrokes reportedly continued to send him gifts during and after the five-month period in question. One text message reported by the newspaper suggested that the account manager placed a £5,000 bonus in the individual’s sports account after noticing that he had not placed a bet for two weeks.

In another text message seen by the Guardian, the account manager asked for the individual’s bank statement to show his income, “to comply with the regulator’s policy”. When he didn’t respond, the account manager reportedly said that the bookmaker “won’t need this now”.

The individual reportedly ran a property business in Dubai and told the newspaper that he lost the business as a result of his gambling addiction, namely from stealing money from clients to fund his habit.

A Gambling Commission spokesperson told iGamingBusiness.com: “We are enquiring into this matter to ascertain the full circumstances.

“Our rules clearly set out that gambling businesses should work with us in an open and cooperative way. This includes disclosing to us anything which we would reasonably be expected to know. If we find that a gambling business is not doing this then we will consider what action is necessary.”

It emerged last week that William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair were facing compensation claims after allegedly failing to block a gambling addict from placing bets with stolen cash. This appears to relate to the same individual.

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