Wilkie’s complaint comes after Ladbrokes was fined by the Northern Territory Racing Commission for violating its license and failing limit the damage caused to clients by Gavin Fineff (ex-financial adviser) who stole more that AUD8million ($5.4 million) to support his gambling addiction.
MP Wilkie Slams Ladbrokes’ “Slap on The Wrist” Fine
Andrew Wilkie was happy with the decision. However, he stated in a statement posted on his website that the fine on Ladbrokes wasn’t a “slap on your wrist” given the seriousness and gravity of the offense.
Wilkie claims that Ladbrokes failed check whether Fineff was able to afford to gamble despite the fact that he had lost millions of dollars to other bookies. Ladbrokes instead offered Fineff bonuses bets which Wilkie described as “downright appalling behaviour.”
In consultation with Fineff, Wilkie introduced the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment to Make Gambling Businesses Accountable Bill 2022. The Bill would make it mandatory for gambling companies to report to AUSTRAC any suspicion that a person is using illegally obtained money to pay for gambling services.
Wilkie believes that if Wilkie’s Bill had been in place, Fineff’s AUD758,510 ($508,470), would have been returned by Ladbrokes to the victims and not kept by them. The Bill would ensure that gambling companies are held accountable for their actions and don’t prey on people with addiction problems.
Critique Mounts over Insufficient Fines for Gambling Companies’ Misconduct
MP Wilkie wasn’t the only one who was concerned about the Ladbrokes low fine. Lauren Levin from Financial Counselling Australia, the director of policy, campaigns and communications, spoke out against Ladbrokes. Levin stated that the operator did not fulfill its legal or moral obligation to its customers in the Fineff case. Levin criticised the operator’s inability to be aware of Fineff’s situation, which could lead to a long prison sentence.
Levin also claimed that Ladbrokes was a stale business model of “get as much money as you can, as fast as you can”, and encouraged victims to pursue their funds.
There has been a problem with gambling companies being fined relatively little compared to their revenues. Bet Nation was recently hit with a $13,770 fine after sending promotional offers to many gamblers who had requested to be expelled from gambling.
Betr, another company supported by Newscorp , was also fined $77,000. This was for reaching out directly to a man on self-exclusion register, and encouraging him to open an account. These fines are insignificant when compared to the huge profits made by gambling businesses.