Problem gambling case a "significant embarrassment" for Flutter Entertainment, court hears

A UK judge has said in court that Flutter Entertainment-owned operator Paddy Power “did not really care” about one of its customers, who was a problem gambler.

The case was brought to court when Amarjeet Singh Dhir sued Flutter Entertainment and tried to take recover money he felt was taken dishonestly.

He had loaned businessman Tony Parente £1m ($1.4m) in 2015 and thought the money was going to be invested in the local property market in Dubai.

As his case unravelled, it was revealed that Parente was a problem gambler. However, it is worth noting the court sided with Paddy Power, ruling that Dhir could not prove a direct link between his stolen funds and Parente’s gambling. 

Nonetheless, Judge Justice Griffiths reviewed Paddy Power's handling of Parente and felt the operator was aware of his gambling addiction, but did not take the appropriate measures to stop it.

In fact, Griffiths said the operator allowed Parente to keep gambling and also encouraged him by providing “gambling bonuses and lavish hospitality."

He also said staff had failed to get information on source of wealth and source of funds. It was shown that Parente’s 2016 account had losses of £77,846 on 5,323 individual bets, which totalled stakes of £2,368,025.

In court, Griffiths said: “Paddy Power knew from its own monitoring of Mr Parente that he was gambling like a problem gambler, with an unhealthy and unsustainable gambling addiction on an escalating and desperate scale.

“Paddy Power knew his losses were unsustainable on his known income and assets.”

The judge also pointed out that Parente was not stopped by Paddy Power; his gambling activity only ended when he had to stop himself through self-exclusion.

Dan Taylor, Flutter International Chief Executive, added: “The way Mr Parente’s account was handled, the failings of which were acknowledged in 2018 as part of a settlement agreed with the Gambling Commission, is a source of significant embarrassment for Flutter.

“We are committed to leading a race to the top in safer gambling and will continue to prioritise investment in this area.”

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