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Lightning Stakes. Blue Diamond Stakes. Oakleigh Plate. Futurity Stakes. Australian Guineas. Surround Stakes. Chipping Norton Stakes. Newmarket Handicap. The UK's gambling regulator found one of the major betting agencies there took 83 per cent of all its deposits from VIPs, who make up just 2 per cent of its customers. Rather than offering him support, his VIP manager would instead be on the phone offering bonus bets and tickets to sports events to keep him punting.
The behaviour is nothing short of insane. He says he was in the thrall of a serious addiction and lacked the insight to realise how dire his situation had become. He believes that mental state was compounded — even exploited — by the behaviour of the betting agency. He says Tabcorp didn't ask him for any proof of funds until it was too late. AUSTRAC, the federal government agency set up to prevent and detect criminal abuse of the financial system, plays a regulatory role when it comes to proceeds of crime in the gambling industry.
The remit of the laws are broad and include other types of crime such as fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement. They need to report transaction information to us and, importantly, they need to report suspicious matters to us.
That means they must properly check identification documents and have a program in place to deal with high-risk customers. As part of that program, they need to be able to check the source of income of someone suddenly gambling heavily or making suspicious transactions. Soros says if betting agencies don't do additional due diligence checks on high-risk customers, "they do run the risk of not complying with our laws".
At the time, Tabcorp said it had "made a significant investment in enhancing our compliance over the last three years". He's staggered that given the size and frequency of his transactions, it took years for Tabcorp to ask for proof of income. Tabcorp did not respond to questions from ABC Investigations about why it did not ask for proof of income earlier.
In a panic that he was being investigated by Tabcorp, he avoided providing information about his salary. He told me what they could do for me in terms of being a superior experience, that he can do things that TAB couldn't. And he offered thousands of dollars [in bonus bets] to try them out. Mr Fineff felt nervous. He says he disclosed that his TAB account had been frozen, and he was worried that he was being investigated. The Ladbrokes employee came up with a plan to ease his anxiety.
He set up the account in a different name and without me providing identification. Mr Fineff was a long-time Canterbury Bulldogs fan, and he and his new account manager settled on the name Gavin Lamb — after Terry Lamb — one of the club's favourite sons. Mr Fineff says he never read or signed up to Ladbrokes' terms and conditions. He says he was never asked for identification or proof of income.
A few months after he was contacted by Ladbrokes, Mr Fineff received yet another surprise call from a different betting agency. I was walking through the garage, past my letterbox and I received a call and I stopped," he says. Mr Fineff alleges he was once again not asked for identification and did not sign up to any terms and conditions.
He says much of his frenetic betting activity was driven by the free bonus bets on offer. I lost the same amount. They were basically matching all my deposits and just giving me whatever I wanted," he says. He says BetEasy never asked him for proof of income, and it only checked for identification in the last two months of his gambling with it. In a statement, BetEasy said: "BetEasy takes seriously its regulatory and responsible gambling obligations and employs significant resources to ensure they are met.
Mr Fineff alleges two former employees from Tabcorp took his contact details with them when they went to work for BetEasy and Ladbrokes, in order to entice him to open new betting accounts. ABC Investigations asked Tabcorp whether this occurred and if this was general practice within the industry. In a statement, Tabcorp said: "Tabcorp employees are subject to strict obligations with regard to customer information and confidentiality.
These obligations extend beyond an employee's employment with us. A former industry insider has told ABC Investigations this practice of sharing and poaching phone numbers is common practice. Neither BetEasy nor Ladbrokes would comment as to whether they knew Mr Fineff's account had been closed at TAB because of his inability to show proof of income.
Australia does not have a highly regulated sports betting industry compared to countries like the UK, France or Sweden. There is no national gambling regulator, but the Northern Territory Racing Commission has become the main regulator for sports betting almost by default after 20 betting agencies set up shop in Darwin for tax purposes. It's like the wild west," she says. In her 10 years working at Financial Counselling Australia, Lauren Levin thought she had seen it all when it came to what corporate bookmakers would do to target losing punters.
It's not in anyone's interest to have so much gambling, with so much harm," she says. She says in other countries, national regulators make sure betting agencies can't profit from the proceeds of crime. That's why their system is so much better than what we've got, because here the regulator is not doing it and the courts are certainly not doing it. I know that my wife's life is not going to be the same. And for others and it's got to stop. It has to stop. Mr Fineff has undergone intensive counselling and hopes he can find a way to repay all the people caught up in his gambling addiction.
I feel it when I wake up in the morning. And all I want to do is make amends for it. I hope that I get the opportunity to do that. There's no part of me that can see me ever getting peace unless I can alleviate their pain. I'm doing my best to do that. And they [sports betting agencies] are not and they have to. They have to answer to their negligence in the same way that I'm answering to my actions.
Tap to share your story. Topics: hospitality , gambling , sports-organisations , sydney , nsw , australia. First posted July 09, Contact Steve Cannane.
Coolmore Classic. William Reid Stakes. Golden Slipper. Galaxy Sprint. George Ryder Stakes. Rosehill Guineas. Doncaster Mile. Australian Derby. Queen Elizabeth Stakes. TJ Smith Stakes. Sydney Cup. Queen of the Turf Stakes. All Aged Stakes. Champagne Stakes. Sky Racing Active. Newspaper Form NSW. Newspaper Form VIC. How to Bet. It is illegal for any persons under the age of 18 to open an account or to gamble with Tabcorp.
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