Betting firm run by Britain’s best-paid woman to pay more than £500,000 for anti-money laundering failures

Bet365 chief executive Denise Coates (Alex Severn/Bet365/PA) (PA Archive)
Bet365 chief executive Denise Coates (Alex Severn/Bet365/PA) (PA Archive)

One of the world’s largest betting firms will pay a hefty fine of more than £500,000 over failures in its anti-money laundering policies.

Bet365 used processes that were “ineffective at managing money laundering risk” and failed to check if new customers were under financial sanctions prior to them registering a first deposit, the Gambling Commission said.

The firm – run by Denise Coates, Britain’s best paid woman – also failed to undertake independent verification checks on customers’ identities and did not carry out meaningful checks on higher risk gamblers.

The regulator said that Hillside (UK Gaming) ENC, which holds a licence for Bet365’s bingo and casino products, will pay £343,035 and Hillside (UK Sports) ENC, which holds a licence to offer betting, will pay £239,085.

All £582,120 will be directed towards socially responsible causes as part of Bet365’s regulatory settlement it agreed with the Gambling Commission.

Latest accounts show that the company, based in Stoke-on-Trent, saw revenue from its core sports and gaming business grow by 19 per cent to £3.39 billion for the year to March.

Ms Coates, whose father Peter co-founded the business, took home more than £220 million last year. She is widely considered to be the UK’s best paid boss, and one of the most highly renumerated in the world.

Her pay package, which does not include dividends, was about £7 million up against the previous year, according to the latest company accounts.

She earns about £1 million every day before tax. As a significant owner of the business, Ms Coates also received millions of pounds in dividends although her exact proportion of dividend payments is unclear.

Kay Roberts, executive director of operations at the Gambling Commission said: “The policy and procedural failings may not have been as severe as those at other gambling businesses in recent years but they were failings nonetheless.

“We expect high standards from operators in terms of keeping gambling safe, fair and crime-free, and will always take action to correct any failings. This operator is very aware that a repeat of these failings will result is escalating regulatory action.”

Bet365 has been approached for comment.