William Hill hit with a record £19.2m fine by the UKGC

William Hill Group, William Hill Organisation and Mr Green Limited have all been found to have ‘widespread and alarming’ failures, according to the CEO of the UKGC, Andrew Rhodes.

William Hill has been hit by a record-breaking £19.2m fine by the UK Gambling Commission for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

To break down the fine, William Hill Group which runs the William Hill gambling site is set to pay £12.5m, while the group’s subsidiary Mr Green will fork out £3.7m. Currently, William Hill Organisation is running 1,344 retail premises across the United Kingdom. It is also set to pay £3m of the fine.

Rhodes went on to say that when the investigation into William Hill began, the failings were of such a nature that it gave the regulator ‘serious consideration’ to a licence suspension.

That said, thanks to William Hill implementing various changes across the board, this has resulted in the UKGC’s largest-ever fine. The group failed to have all the necessary controls in place to safeguard any new players and to protect those at risk in a time-effective manner.

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One player was allowed to create an account and spend an eye-watering £23,000 in 20 minutes without running any necessary checks. In another instance, one player was allowed to register for a new account and spend £18,000 in 24 hours without any checks, while another player gambled £32,500 over two days at the Mr Green Casino.

The group was also found to have allowed players to continue to lose large amounts of money without intervening. One player lost £54,252 over four weeks without the casino seeking any form of income evidence or carrying any unnecessary checks to identify the risk of harm.

Another time, one player lost more than £45,000 before the casino got in touch for the first time via phone. Another 331 players who had self-excluded with Mr Green, were still able to gamble on the William Hill site.

The company also failed to request the source of funds after one player placed a £19,000 bet. Another player placed a £39,324 stake and lost £20,360 over the span of 12 days.

Moreover, AML staff training was also found to be insufficient and failed to educate the company’s staff on how to manage risks.

UKGC CEO Rhodes said: “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 reduce 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,” he added.