Record UK fine for William Hill businesses

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Three gambling businesses under the William Hill umbrella will together pay a UK record fine of £19.2m for a series of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures, the Gambling Commission says.

WHG (International), which runs, will pay £12.5m, while Mr Green will pay £3.7m. Meanwhile, William Hill Organisation, which operates over 1,344 land-based British premises, is to pay £3m.

Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said the failings were “so widespread and alarming” that “serious consideration was given” to suspending the licences of the parties involved.

But, Rhodes added that the UKGC instead opted for “the largest enforcement payment in our history” after the three businesses “worked with us to swiftly implement improvements.”

The UKGC says one customer was allowed to open a new account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks. Another customer’s £18,000 spend in 24 hours went unnoticed, the regulator adds, and it says a third customer, who played via Mr Green, spent £32,500 over two days without any intervention.

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Mr Green was also found responsible, the UKGC says, for failing to identify players at risk of gambling-related harm, with one customer losing £14,902 in 70 minutes.

And at WHG (International), the regulator says one customer lost £54,252 in four weeks without the operator seeking income evidence, carrying out adequate checks or using any other effective method to identify risk of harm.

As for anti-money laundering failures, the Gambling Commission says it found William Hill Organisation responsible for custmers being able to stake large amounts of money without being monitored or scrutinised to sufficiently high standards.

The UKGC says the operator failed to request Source of Funds evidence when one customer bet £19,000 in a single bet, while it did not obtain documentation from a customer who staked £39,324 and lost £20,360 in 12 days.

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The regulator adds that another customer was not asked for SoF evidence after staking £276,942 and losing £24,395 over two months.

Rhodes added: “In the last 15 months we have taken unprecedented action against gambling operators, but we are now starting to see signs of improvement. There are indications that the industry is doing more to make gambling safer and reducing the possibility of criminal funds entering their businesses.

“Operators are using algorithms to spot gambling harms or criminal risk more quickly, interacting with consumers sooner, and generally having more effective policies and procedures in place.”

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