Million sterling online gambling bill run up by brit CFO

News on 1 Dec 2018

The UK Gambling Commission‘s significantly tougher stance on responsible gambling behaviour from operators (see previous reports) could see more online gambling companies in its sights following a case this week in which a 36-year-old chief financial officer of a Norwich company admitted embezzling GBP 1 million to fund an out-of-control gambling problem.

Steve Girling, a married man with two children, stole the money over three years to fund his excessive gambling at online sites, which treated him as a VIP client rather than raising warning flags on his high rolling behaviour.

Those same companies may now be reviewing their systems and perhaps nervously eyeing the possibility that the Commission could come a-knocking.

Girling has been cooperating with GambleAware and the Commission as part of his recovery, trying to atone for his illegal activity by helping to combat problem gambling.

From March 2014 to October 2017 he transferred cash from his employer’s accounts to his own – subsequently blowing it on online slot machines. He admits to splurging as much as GBP 18,000 in evening sessions to escape the stress and realities of life, and was treated to VIP gambling trips to Dubai, Ascot and Cheltenham by the operators of the sites he used.

“I turned to gambling because I liked the fact I could do it on my phone on my own and it was my way of shutting myself away from my everyday life and my worries,” he told the Norwich court. “I would play GBP 100 spins on slot machines that you can spin every few seconds,” he said.

It all overwhelmed him late in 2017, when he resigned his post and confessed to his wife. His employer and the police conducted an investigation with which he cooperated.

Girling  now awaits sentencing in January next year, but in the meantime has had to sell his car and use his life savings to repay some of the stolen money. He will likely also have to put his home on the market.

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