The UK Gambling Commission has issued William Hill with a £6.2m fine, due to numerous breaches of anti-money-laundering and social responsibility regulations.
According to the UKGC, “systemic senior management failure” at William Hill resulted in a lack of efficient protection for customers.
Anti-money laundering procedures were also not adhered to, allowing ten players to deposit “large sums of money linked to criminal offenses”. In the report, it is stated that William Hill gained around £1.2m from these transactions.
The highlighted examples of failures by William Hill are particularly damning. These include:
Another customer was allowed to deposit £541,000 across 14 months, with William Hill assuming that the customer’s annual income was about £365,000 from a verbal conversation. In actual fact, the customer was earning just £30,000, and was guilty of stealing from his employer to fund his gambling habit.
On one occasion, a customer was allowed to deposit £653,000 over an 18 month period, which raised an alert within William Hill’s system that should have caused the customer’s profile to be investigated. A systems failure meant that managers never reviewed this, and the customer was able to gamble for a further six months with no review and further alerts raised.
As a result of these failings, William Hill will pay the penalty package as mentioned above (made up of a £5m payment to socially responsible charities + the £1.2m gains from these players, most of which will be returned to the victims of the aforementioned criminal offenses). If further failings come to light, William Hill will also immediately forfeit any earnings from those too.
This penalty is the second biggest issued by the UK Gambling Commission, after 888 were hit with a £7.8m fine last year for failing to properly handle vulnerable customers.
The company will also appoint external auditors to review and implement changes to its social responsibility procedures and policies. Any learnings from this will also be shared with the wider industry to help prevent further failings.
Sam Coleman has worked in the gaming industry for over eight years. He is responsible for reviewing the latest online bingo and casino sites as well as breaking industry news. Sam also works as a copywriter for Visit Britain.
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