William Hill, one of the oldest and most popular betting operators in the United Kingdom, has been slammed with a $23.7 million fine by the nation’s Gambling Commission. This marks a record high for the British Gambling Commission, and it reported that, given the severity of the offence, it had considered suspending the operator’s license entirely. It was only due to swift restorative and resolute actions that William Hill was ‘allowed’ to retain its license.
According to the charge, William Hill failed to protect its consumers and effectively prevent money laundering from taking place on its platforms. It wasn’t a one-off, the Gambling Commission advised, but a string of failures that had compounded to warrant such a steep fine. In one situation undercovered by the investigations, it was revealed that one customer had spent £23,000 in just twenty minutes without any due diligence checks being made.
It Isn’t The First Time, Though
In 2018, William Hill was handed a £6.2 million ($7.6 million) fine for similar issues – failing to protect consumers and enforce rigorous anti-money laundering practices. It has been highlighted that the payment of the fines will be split up between various William Hill-related entities, all of which fall under the banner of parent firm 888. At the end of 2022, 888 reported yearly revenue of more than $1.85 billion ($2.2 billion), so while it may seem large on the surface, the fine is something like a drop in the bucket.
Further investigations revealed that more than three hundred customers who had ‘self-excluded’ with one William Hill betting platform were able to bet on another William Hill platform.
In a statement handed down by the Gambling Commission, the situation was clearly outlined:
‘When we launched this investigation the failings we uncovered were so widespread and alarming serious consideration was given to licence suspension. 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.’
This desire to improve operations and to better protect consumers was echoed by a spokesperson of William Hill:
‘The entire group shares the [Gambling Commission’s] commitment to improve compliance standards across the industry and we will continue to work collaboratively with the regulator and other stakeholders to achieve this.’
It seems that William Hill narrowly avoided losing its gambling license, but next time, it might not be so lucky.