A financial planner who gambled away millions with sports betting agencies has broken down in tears while coming clean to his family about his shameful secret.
Father-of-two Gavin Fineff, 41, from Sydney’s North Shore, gambled away more than $8million in four years, and admitted to using some money from clients.
Mr Fineff has gone public with his story to put the spotlight on the tactics he alleges sports betting companies use to entice punters to gamble.
He also claims he was poached by two other online betting companies after his Tabcorp betting account was frozen.
The father-of-two admitted he’s ashamed of the addiction that has destroyed his life, and
‘I had to tell my family that there’s a part of me that they have no idea about,’ he told ABC’s The segment showed a distraught Mr Fineff making the agonising phone call to his mother to reveal his devastating admission.
‘It’s pretty bad, mum,’ he admitted.
She replied: ‘If I could take your place, I would. If I could take all this pain away from you and do what you have to do, for you, I would.’
Mr Fineff told her: ‘I need to make it right.’
His gambling began over a few drinks with mates at the pub, mostly on horse racing, he explained.
The problems began when he opened a TAB account for mobile and online betting, where he was soon granted VIP status.
He was offered incentives to continue betting, which ranged from bonus bets, lunches and dinners, to tickets to sports events and other enticing rewards.
Father-of-two Gavin Fineff has been forced to reveal the extent of his addiction to loved ones
Mr Fineff claims Tabcorp didn’t question his gambling losses, even when he lost $130,000 – his annual salary – within just a few days.
‘I knew that I was losing money, but it would quickly turn to focus, determination, optimism to fix it and get it back. And in my mind, there was a plan to do that,’ he said.
He also allegedly began betting with other people’s money, something that ‘keeps him up at night’.
‘I feel it when I wake up in the night. 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,’ a remorseful Mr Fineff said.
NSW Police confirmed it’s investigating and is yet to lay charges.
‘In March 2020, officers from North Shore Police Area Command received a report of an alleged fraud committed against an 86-year-old woman,’ a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘During the course of the investigation so far, police have received information about several other alleged victims.
‘As inquiries are continuing, no further information is available.’
The former financial advisor (pictured) was in tears as he broke the news of his dark secret to his mum
By the time his Tabcorp account was frozen in 2018 when they questioned him about his proof of income, he had lost $3.9million, which included $1.5 million within just six months.
It wasn’t long before Mr Fineff was gambling again after he was allegedly contacted by a Ladbrokes representative and offered bumper bonus cash, despite having never been a customer.
‘I had no account with Ladbrokes,’ he said.
‘I know that he worked at TAB. He contacted me and offered thousands of dollars of bonus cash to give them a go. How could I say no to that?’
He claims an account was set up for him under a different surname by Ladbrokes before he lost almost $700,000 in 20 months.
Within months of being contacted by Ladbrokes, he claimed he received a call from BetEasy, offering a similar deal – but he eventually lost another $3.6 million.
Federal government agency AUSTRAC has put betting agencies on notice, reminding them of their obligation to monitor customers and report any suspected proceeds of crime.
‘Betting agencies are required to know their customer and undertake the appropriate identity-checking processes to ensure that the customers who they’re dealing with are who they say they are,’ AUSTRAC deputy chief executive operations Peter Soros said.
Mr Fineff estimates he lost $3.9million in two years with Tabcorp before his account was frozen in 2018 (stock image)
Mr Fineff claims he was never asked him for proof of income by Ladbrokes or BetEasy.
TabCorp declined to comment on Mr Fineffs’s claims, citing privacy and confidentiality considerations.
‘More broadly, Tabcorp has systems in place to monitor betting activity and acts where necessary to prevent misuse of our systems and products,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Tabcorp is subject to a range of reporting and other obligations overseen by various regulators including AUSTRAC and complies with these obligations.’
‘Tabcorp employees are subject to strict obligations with regard to customer information and confidentiality.
Sports betting agencies have been out on notice after Mr Fineff went public with his addiction
‘These obligations extend beyond an employee’s employment with us. Employees are reminded of this on departure and any potential breach is taken very seriously.
BetEasy also wouldn’t comment on Mr Fineff’s claims but says it takes regulatory and responsible gambling obligations seriously and employs significant resources to ensure they are met.
Ladbrokes declined to comment.
Mr Fineff has entered rehab as he awaits his fate.
He called on sports betting agencies to take more accountability for gambling addiction.
‘I’m taking accountability for this. I’ll do my best to do that. And they’re not. And they have to. Surely there’s a duty of care. And if there’s not, then there needs to be one,’ he said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Gambling Help Online on 1800 858 858 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.