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William Hill issued record fine by UK Gambling Commission

William Hill gambling news

William Hill’s three gambling entities have been fined a record £19.2 million by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for their unsuitable anti money laundering controls and neglecting social responsibility obligations.

The British regulator uncovered such “widespread and alarming” issues within the company that a license suspension was considered. It was, however, decided against after taking note of the operator’s eagerness to work with the UKGC.

Some of the most notable incidents occurred during the pandemic lockdown, after the gambling regulator informed casinos and bookmakers of the dangers of exploiting gamblers who had to remain indoors for long periods.

William Hill reportedly admitted to several failings, such as allowing a patron with a new betting account to lose £23,000 in 20 minutes without any restrictions. Another customer spent £18,000 in less than a day, and a third spent £32,500 within two days without restrictions.

The operator also failed to identify the risk of harm with certain punters and intervene early. One gambler lost more than £54,252 within four weeks without William Hill carrying out the required checks and requesting evidence of income.

They had also forgone the 24-hour mandatory delay between requesting a credit limit increase and issuing it. A gambler whose credit limit was set at £70,000 was immediately allowed to place a bet worth £100,000 upon request.

William Hill was found to have weak controls in place to shield new customers from gambling-related harm and possible money laundering cases. The UKGC uncovered incidents of the gaming operator allowing gamblers to deposit significant sums with none of the required checks.

“When we launched this investigation the failings we uncovered were so widespread and alarming serious consideration was given to licence suspension,” stated the regulator’s chief executive, Andrew Rhodes.

“However, because the operator immediately recognised their failings and worked with us to swiftly implement improvements, we instead opted for the largest enforcement payment in our history.”

William Hill and Mr Green, its sister brand, were issued a £19.2 million fine, the highest in the commission’s history. The £17 million fine imposed last August on Entain – parent firm of Ladbrokes and Coral – previously held the spot as the most prominent penalty issues by the regulator.

WHG (International), which operates williamhill.com, will be required to pay £12.5 million out of the amount, while Mr Green will pay £3.7 million, and William Hill Organization will pay £3 million.

William Hill runs over 1,300 betting outlets in Britain. The funds will be directed towards “socially responsible” projects.

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