Ladbrokes escape fine over problem gambler from BBC Panorama documentary

In August I published an article about the BBC panorama documentary about problem gamblers.

That article was a change from my normal articles about matched betting.

But I am writing this follow on piece to tell you what happened next.

There has been an interesting development regarding  one of the people featured in that documentary.

Gambling addiction

Tony Parente stole millions from the clients of his business to fund his gambling addiction.

As I detailed in my original article Tony was losing up to £60,000 per day.

But Ladbrokes did not check where the money was coming from.

It has now been revealed that five of the people Tony stole the money from made a complaint against Ladbrokes for accepting allegedly stolen funds.

Ladbrokes agreed to pay them a combined sum of £975,000.

But there was a catch.

They would pay them the money if they agreed,

‘Not to bring any complaint or make any report to a regulator in relation to the claim’

They also agreed not to assist anyone else in making claims against Ladbrokes for accepting stolen money.

Non disclosure agreement

In other words Ladbrokes asked them to sign a Non Disclosure agreement in order to get their money.

However the non disclosure agreement was not adhered to as the story was broke by The Guardian in December 2018.

At that time the gambler was not named but he later waived his anonymity to appear in the BBC panorama documentary.

After details of the non disclosure agreements were revealed Ladbrokes were investigated by The Gambling Commission.

Ladbrokes escape fine

But the Gambling Commission have decided not to fine Ladbrokes for only agreeing to pay back the five victims if they signed the non disclosure agreement.

This has angered many anti gambling campaigners.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs the cross party parliamentary group on gambling related harm said,

‘Until we reshape the gambling regulations in this country the industry will continue to exploit and hold vulnerable people to ransom.”

She also said that the gambling commission was ‘complicit in what is actually abuse – of power and of individuals’

Nobody has come out of this incident looking good.

It is no surprise that Ladbrokes acted in an underhand way.

But for me it was disappointing that The Gambling Commission did not punish Ladbrokes for their conduct regarding the non disclosure agreement.

Gambling addiction is a big problem and one that should be taken more seriously by both The Gambling Commission and the gambling companies.

If you are having problems related to gambling please visit the gambleaware website for help and support.

What do you think about this case?

Were the Gambling Commission right to allow Ladbrokes to escape without a fine?

Should Ladbrokes have been punished for only agreeing to pay back the money stolen by the gambling addict if victims of the theft agreed to sign a non disclosure agreement?

Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments section below.

 

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