Betting Brokerage Closes Business with Betfair Clone Site after Financial Times Investigation
Category : Events & Reports
Online sports betting brokerage Asianconnect88 has closed its business with a website connected to Betfair after a recent investigation by the Financial Times detailed an obscure pattern of the P2P gambling exchange using third-party websites to avoid identity checks of new customers.
Asianconnect88 offered bettors access to Betfair’s products through accounts opened on 9wickets, a clone site of Betfair. As reported by the Financial Times, 9wickets and similar websites share Betfair’s programming interface, which enables them to replicate the betting exchange’s odds and liquidity pool.
The major financial news outlet found out that 9wickets accounts opened through Asianconnect88 offered a backdoor into Betfair to avoid the otherwise required customer identity checks as well as checks of customers’ source of funds. Practices of this kind undermine established anti-money laundering controls and facilitate the use of the online betting industry for money laundering and other financial crimes.
Following the publication of the Financial Times’ findings, Asianconnect88 informed its customers in an email sent on Friday that it would cease brokering accounts with 9wickets. All existing accounts are to be suspended from today, July 6, it also became known.
Betfair is part of UK-listed gambling group Flutter Entertainment, which operated as Paddy Power Betfair up until recently and was formed through the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair in 2016.
One of Many
As noted by the Financial Times, Asianconnect88 is one of many sports betting brokerage firms referring customers to Betfair and funneling money into the major betting exchange without conducting proper checks on the identity of punters or their source of betting funds.
Betfair is understood to apply a 2% commission per winning bet that comes through a third-party website. And 9wickets and other clone sites are required to route no less than half of their business through Betfair’s exchange.
Businesses like 9wickets are banned from operating in the UK, where a number of locally licensed gambling operators have been slapped hefty fines by the Gambling Commission for poor anti-money laundering controls. However, third-party partners of Flutter are found to be targeting customers from countries where Betfair’s products are largely banned, such as the US and India.
The Financial Times points out that betting on cricket through Betfair’s exchange is extremely popular, with more than £100 million being wagered on each match within the recent ICC Cricket World Cup.
Asked to comment on the Financial Times’ findings, Flutter said that all its B2B partners “are licensed operators and they are held to a high standard of verification.” The company’s statement went on that “all our B2B partners adhere to the ‘know your customer’ requirements specified by their [local] licensing authority.”
Asianconnect88 is licensed in Curaçao, but the local Gaming Control Board has not responded to the Financial Times’ requests for comment on the recent investigation.
A spokesperson for the UK Gambling Commission has told the business news outlet that a UK licensed operator is required to assure that it is acting in a lawful manner and any failure to do so “would bring into question [its] suitability to hold a Commission licence.”
In the UK, Betfair’s customers undergo thorough identity checks before being able to wager money.
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