Looks like this could deal a serious blow to one of the UK’s top online operators. Long-time betting shop both online and in real life, William Hill, has received a hefty fine of up to £6.2 million for what the UKGC describes as a: “Systemic senior management failure to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.” This could not only have a enormous impact on the long-time bookmakers on the industry at large.
This shocking piece of new has come after a deep-cover UKGC investigation carried out between November 2014 and August 2016. William Hill has, according to the watchdog, failed to comply with safety measures and laws put in place that prevent massive gambling organisations from money-laundering and not complying to social responsibility regulations.
William Hill and their senior management team failed to mitigate risks and several members of staff did not ensure that these measurements were in effect. This has resulted in ten customers being allowed to make massive deposits that were linked to criminal offences, which meant William Hill profited £1.2m from it. The organisation did not research carefully enough into where the money came from or establish if the players were problem gamblers.
Some of these breaches are also quite serious. They involve, but aren’t limited to:
- A customer being allowed to deposit £654,000 over a period nine months without fund checks of any kind.
- Another customer depositing £541,000 over 14 months after the operator after telling William Hill his income £365,000 when in act they were actually earning £30,000 and was stealing money from their employer.
- A third player depositing £653,000 over 18 month, earning an ‘amber risk’ which required a customer profile to be review which didn’t happen due to a system failure. The customer went on gambling for another six months despite triggering financial alerts.
- Having yet another single conversation with a potential problem gambler that failed to meet guidelines.
- Yet another customer triggering alerts but only receiving automated “social responsibility” emails as a result.
There were many, many more instance of these violations besides and it shows a clear lack of responsibility and awareness on William Hill’s part.
As a result of this, William Hill have now got to pay over £6 million in fines. £5 million will be taken because of their breach in regulations while the remaining £1.2 million will be compensation from what they profited of said gamblers. Where the victims among those ten customers are concerned, they will receive reimbursements for their troubles. If anything else of this nature occurs, William Hill are also obliged to divest any money they make from these transactions.
Third parties will also keep a closer eye on the gambling operator to make sure they comply with gambling regulations. Neil McArthur, Executive Director, said: “We will use the full range of our enforcement powers to make gambling fairer and safer.” For our part, we hope the fine sends a serious message out to other operators who might be negligent in upholding regulations designed to protect customers. As McArthur said, gambling should be safe and fair and no one should fall victim to these crimes.