Ladbrokes Alleged to Have Paid Nearly £1 Million in Hush Money
The UK Gambling Commission is investigating allegations that Ladbrokes paid £1 million to the victims of a problem gambler as a form of hush money. The Guardian published a report that the victims of a problem gambler, who stole their money to fund his gambling, were paid by Ladbrokes to keep them from talking to British gaming regulators.
A spokesperson for the Gambling Commission said, “We are inquiring 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.”
The spokesperson for the UK’s top gaming regulator added, “If we find that a gambling business is not doing this then we will consider what action is necessary.”Problem Gambler Stole from 5 CustomersThe British problem gambler, reported in The Guardian as a man who ran a property business in Dubai (UAE), stole cash from his clients in order to fuel his problem gambling career. Five of those clients complained to Ladbrokes.
The UK bookmaker paid the five alleged victims a combined £975 million in return for them not making a complaint to the UK Gambling Commission, according to The Guardian.
Tom Watson Is Aghast
Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party and shadow Culture Secretary, said, “I strongly urge the Gambling Commission to throw the book at Ladbrokes.”
Watson said the allegations, if true, are “an absolute horror story”.
Ladbrokes Coral Statement on Payments
Ladrokes Coral released a statement after the article in The Guardian ran which said, “We do not comment on individual customer cases. However, where we are able to agree a settlement to a dispute with a customer, it is a standard provision of such settlement agreements that the parties keep its content confidential.”
While it is common for a gaming company to come to an agreement with a customer when some kind of oversight or wrongdoing has been committed, it is rare that a bookmaker would come to an arrangement with the victims of the customer without reporting the arrangement to government regulators or court officers.
GVC Holdings Shares Down
Shares of GVC Holdings, the holding company which bought Ladbrokes Coral earlier this year, fell by nearly 5% on Monday. One problem with the news is this is not Ladbrokes’ first time in the cross-hairs of the UK Gambling Commission.
The UK Gambling Commission has taken a more aggressive stance against British gambling companies over the past two to three years. Successive Gambling Commission directors have levied record fines on UK bookmakers found guilty of misconduct.