An Australian financial planner who blew millions on sports betting apps had his betting account frozen and finally revealed the secret he has been keeping from his family and closest friends for almost four years.
Gavin Fineff, a 41-year-old senior financial planner, has been highly respected for his professional skills but his life changed drastically three months ago when he revealed to his family and friends that he had lost a lot of money, some of which was not even his own. The amount that totalled over AU$8 million was spent by Mr Fineff not on a bad investment but on gambling, as he had lost it to three big online betting companies. Now, the once-respected financial planner is facing a potential jail sentence.
Mr Fineff gambled away the amount of over AU$8 million in four years, with him even using money that belonged to his clients. He has publicly revealed his story in an effort to highlight the ill practices used by some sports betting operators to lure punters to continue gambling. Apart from that, Mr Fineff said he was approached by two other online gambling operators after his account with the betting company Tabcorp was frozen.
He took full responsibility for his actions but he wanted everyone to know that betting operators are actually the ones to blame, as they use some predatory practices to take advantage of customers’ gambling addiction.
Punter Says His Addiction Got Worse after Gambling Company Gave Him VIP Status
As the punter himself revealed, his gambling started moderately, while spending time with friends at the pub. He would have bet primarily on horse races, and when he found he was able to gamble on horse racing online directly through his mobile phone, things got really serious.
Mr Fineff explained that his gambling escalated quickly following his decision to open an account with TAB. After the betting company granted him “VIP status” and appointed a personal customer service manager to contact him and make him special offers, including bonus money to bet with, as well as tickets for various events and experiences.
Mr Fineff further noted that rather than trying to help him deal with his compulsive gambling behaviour, his personal customer service manager would contact him and offer various special bonuses or other enticements to encourage him to continue gambling. As reported by ABC after reaching the player’s transaction history with TAB, Mr Fineff lost AU$1.5 million in just one 6-month period back in 2017.
For quite some time, so-called VIP customers have been among the major drivers of the gambling industry, with a number of overseas jurisdictions already sharing their concerns with some practices used by companies to lure more and more customers. Previously, the UK Gambling Commission (UGKC) found that VIP customers accounted for 83% of all deposits of one of the largest gambling operators in the country, with VIPs being only 2% of the overall number of the company’s customers.