The betting platform BetEasy has been fined more than $ 50,000 by the Northern Territory betting and gaming watchdog, after a self-excluded problem gambler was allowed to create a new account and lose almost $ 720,000.
- BetEasy staff noticed that the new account shared a residential address with a self-excluded player.
- BetEasy and the player reached a private settlement before the case was heard by the Northern Territory Racing Commission
- Despite the private settlement, the commission investigated the matter
As part of its investigation, the Northern Territory Racing Commission assessed a private settlement between BetEasy and a person referred to solely as “The Gambler”.
The commission found that the online betting company violated two of its license terms, “maybe” violated a third, and did not have sufficient controls in place to identify problem gambling.
He also discovered that the player was a self-excluded customer of BetEasy’s predecessor, CrownBet, and that he was known to BetEasy and its affiliates.
However, one of the company’s affiliates, John Dow, contacted the player in January 2019 to help him open a new account in the name of the man’s wife.
According to the facts contained in the commission report, Mr. Dow facilitated the player’s new account and arranged “free bets”.
BetEasy staff noticed that the new account was assigned the same residential address as the self-excluded player’s the day after the account was created.
But an identity verification check five days later “convinced BetEasy that the identity of the account holder has been verified,” although some of the answers to their questions were incorrect, according to the commission.
Ultimately, the account recorded gambling losses of $ 719,350, which the player and his wife sought to recover from BetEasy.
BetEasy and the player reached a private resolution of the dispute in April 2021, the day before the matter was scheduled to be heard by the commission.
And BetEasy claimed that Mr. Dow was not an employee of the company, but rather an “affiliate”.
BetEasy hesitant to admit fault, commission says
The commission criticized BetEasy’s reluctance to take responsibility for Mr. Dow’s actions in facilitating the creation of the account.
“The commission’s view is that a licensee should accept responsibility for the activities of its subsidiary,” the report said.
“A reluctance to do this does not reflect well on a licensee.”
The commission said the telephone conversations between Mr. Dow and BetEasy staff “should have set off red flags” when Mr. Dow called the account holder a man and said “the husband is betting on the account and the husband is a golden VIP, “despite staff detecting earlier that the account shared a residential address with that of an excluded player.
He found that BetEasy had failed to comply with the Code of Practice for Responsible Online Gambling “on several occasions”.
In addition, it found that BetEasy did not comply with its terms and conditions and did not have adequate systems in place to “identify and act on indicators of problem gambling”.
The commission also concluded that the company “may have” failed another condition of its license because it did not have adequate processes in place to identify customers and prevent “bypassing” of its systems. .
BetEasy was fined $ 26,860 for each of the two confirmed violations and the commission referred BetEasy’s “account opening and customer identification practices” to the Australian Center for Transaction Reporting and Analysis .
In its report, the commission also said it would take the BetEasy case into account when advising the Government of the Northern Territory on new legislation to replace the Racing and Betting Act, including that “the legislation should explicitly and unconditionally assign affiliate liability “to licensees, regardless of contractual arrangements between the parties.
BetEasy is a licensed betting operator from the Northern Territory which merged with Sportsbet last year.