William Hill receives record £19.2m fine from UKGC
The gambling regulator’s latest enforcement action involves several of William Hill’s brands. The largest share of the total fine at 12.5 million Pounds has been imposed on the company’s main operating website, williamhill.com. The firm’s Mr. Green subsidiary has been fined 3.7 million Pounds, while William Hill Organization Ltd., a subsidiary operating over 1300 gambling establishments in the United Kingdom, will pay 3 million Pounds.
The Gambling Commission fined the operator for numerous AML and Social Responsibility failures. In terms of the former category, William Hill’s main shortcomings stemmed from its subpar AML policies and procedures. The operator allowed players to deposit large amounts of money without conducting checks on their sources. The GC mentioned that in one specific case, a user lost over 70 thousand Pounds in a month and the operator did not conduct a source of funds check on them.
In terms of Social Responsibility failures, on the other hand, the operator failed to protect its players, especially new ones, from various gambling harms. Numerous new users were permitted to deposit and spend large amounts of money without any affordability checks. The commission highlighted that one player spent over 18 thousand Pounds in 24 hours, while another player was able to spend over 23 thousand Pounds in just 20 minutes without the operator conducting any of the warranted checks.
Additionally, the regulator found that over 300 self-excluded players were allowed to gamble at Mr. Green. The subsidiary also failed to protect its users from problem gambling, in one case letting a player lose over 54 thousand Pounds in less than a month before reaching out to them and conducting checks.
The CEO of the UKGC, Andrew Rhodes, commented on the fine:
“After we launched our investigation into William Hill’s failures and uncovered an egregious list of shortcomings, we considered suspending the operator’s license. However, the company immediately recognized its failings and made an effort to right its wrongs, making us settle on a near 20 million Pound penalty instead.”
This enforcement action is the largest one taken by the Gambling Commission to date and follows just a week after another major one involving an over 7 million Pound fine for Kindred. The regulator’s previous largest penalty was issued back in August of last year, where the UKGC fined Entain over 17 million Pounds.