Sports betting giant William Hill has been slapped with a £6.2 million fine by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The fine was issued after the UKGC determined that William Hill was not doing enough to provide customer protection and to stop money laundering from taking place online.
This fine is the second largest fine that the UKGC has issued till date. The largest fine was issued in August 2017 to 888 Holdings for similar reasons. The fine placed on 888 Holdings was set at £7.8 million.
The UKGC determined that William Hill had failed to clear out signs of problem gambling in the two year period it was given (Aug 2014 to Aug 2016).
The UKGC alleges that ten online bettors were allowed to deposit cash that was tied to criminal dealings and William Hill was able to earn around £1.2 million from this illegal cash deposit. This was one of the main reasons why UKGC decided to impose such a high fine.
UKGC hit William Hill with a £5 million punitive fine for failing to do enough to protect problem gamblers from gaining access to the site. The investigation found that problem gamblers who put themselves on William Hill’s self-exclusion list were still able to gain access to the online casino and place wagers. The second part of the fine was £1.2 million which was gained from illegal cash deposits.
William Hill warned about future conduct
UKGC also warned William Hill that any future sports bets that could be considered derived from money laundering activities would see their proceeds confiscated.
Tim Miller, Executive Director for the Gambling Commission, told reporters that a lot of the proper checks were not happening. Despite the clear warning signs, William Hill did not stop the betting and was thus responsible for it happening. Additionally, the UKGC determined that William Hill did not gather sufficient information on the bettors.
William Hill has reacted by saying that it will implement new policies and increase their vigilance in terms of accepting deposits. They will also be getting external auditors to help check their current policies for improvements.
In a statement, Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer for William Hill said
We are fully committed to operating a sustainable business that properly identifies risk and better protects customers. We will continue to assist the Gambling Commission and work with other operators to improve practices in the areas identified