Rank Gets a Wrist Slap Over Money Laundering Issues, Paddy Power Betfair Hook Up

UKGC blasts Rank Group over money laundering

Bang a gong! Rank Group gets a ticking off from the UK regulator. (designtechideas.com)

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is urging all UK gambling operators to ensure they have effective measures in place to combat money-laundering and problem gambling.

The commission warned its licensees to learn from the shortcomings recently exposed at the Rank Group, which was censured following the conviction of one of its best customers on money-laundering charges.

Da Feng Ding was a frequent visitor to the Rank Group’s Grosvenor chain of casinos, where he blew a reported six-figure sum over a period of three years before his arrest.

Casinos have, in the past, provided a full dry cleaning service for money launderers, who have been able to visit a casino, turn large sums of money into chips, and gamble “minimally” before changing it back into cash, fully pressed, folded and smelling “Alpine-fresh.”

Despite the watchful eye of the UKGC, it can still happen it seems, although “minimal gambling” does not have appeared to be Ding’s problem.

Nor was it the problem of a Meccabingo.com customer known only as Customer B, who embezzled a six-figure sum from her employees to blow at the site, which is also owned by Rank.

Closing Ranks

Online gambling sites are required by the regulator to have sophisticated “Know Your Customer” (KYC) processes integrated into their systems, which should provide data on whether a customer behaviour suggests they may have a problem.

However, when Customer B suddenly went from spending small sums at MeccaBingo.com to burning through $5,000 a week, instead of being flagged up as a possible problem gambler, she was identified as a “commercially valuable” customer by Rank and sent on a trip to Las Vegas.

Rank has said it will address the failures of due diligence, and has recently announced an overhaul of its digital arm, to be spearheaded by a new platform provider, Bede Gaming.

Meanwhile, it has said it will pay £950,000 towards “socially responsible” initiatives by way of apology.

Paddy Power and Betfair Get Creative

Meanwhile, in other news, Paddy Power and Betfair have announced that they have agreed the terms of a £5 billion merger that is set to create a true online gambling behemoth. The new name of the combined company?

Well, it’s not “Betty Power,” as many of us had hoped; in fact, it’s nowhere near as catchy.

The official name of the new combined company, then, of one of the world’s biggest, if not the biggest online gambling company in the world, with projected sales of £1.2 billion, will be… wait for it … Paddy Power Betfair.

Well, at least Betfair Chief Breon Corcoran was pleased; pleased enough, that is, to accept a £10 million bonus. Must be nice!

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