Posted: Tue 28th Mar 2023

William Hill Group to pay record £19.2m fine for social responsibility failures

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 28th, 2023


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Three gambling businesses owned by the William Hill Group have been ordered to pay a total of £19.2 million in fines for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures, marking the largest enforcement payment in the UK Gambling Commission’s history.

WHG (International) Limited, which operates williamhill.com, will pay £12.5 million, while Mr Green Limited, running mrgreen.com, will pay £3.7 million.

William Hill Organisation Limited, which has 1,344 gambling premises across Britain, will pay £3 million.

Gambling Commission Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes revealed that during the investigation, the failings were so “widespread and alarming” that licence suspension was considered.

However, the operator’s swift recognition of its failings and commitment to improvements led to the decision to impose the largest enforcement payment in the Commission’s history.

This action comes a week after the Commission fined two operators owned by Kindred Group plc a combined £7.2 million.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Commission has concluded 26 enforcement cases, with operators paying over £76 million due to regulatory failures.

Mr Rhodes noted that there are now “signs of improvement” in the industry, with operators using algorithms to spot gambling harms or criminal risk more quickly and having more effective policies and procedures in place.

Failures at William Hill businesses included insufficient controls to protect new customers, failure to identify customers at risk of gambling-related harm, and allowing customers to deposit large amounts without conducting appropriate checks.

In one case, a customer was allowed to open a new account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks.

Another customer was allowed to open an account and spend £18,000 in 24 hours without any checks.

And a third customer was allowed to open a new account and spend £32,500 over two days without any checks. (Mr Green)

As part of the regulatory settlement, all £19.2 million will be directed towards socially responsible purposes.

Additional licence conditions will also be added, ensuring a business board member oversees an improvement plan and that the businesses undergo a third-party audit to assess the effective implementation of anti-money laundering and safer gambling policies, procedures, and controls.

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