William Hill fined £6.2m by Gambling Commission for lax controls

Betting firm William Hill has been hit with a £6.2m penalty package for breaching anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

The Gambling Commission said the company did not do enough to ensure prevention measures were effective reports the BBC

As a result 10 customers were able to deposit money linked to criminal offences and William Hill gained £1.2m.

The company was found to have not done enough to determine the source of the money or if they were problem gamblers.

The penalty is the second biggest imposed by the Commission, following last year’s £7.8m action against betting firm 888.

In a statement, the Gambling Commission said William Hill’s senior management “failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective”.

External checks

Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller told the BBC that William Hill should have been “checking the source of money and understanding their customers and ensuring that potentially vulnerable customers are properly protected”.

The investigation by the Gambling Commission covered the period between November 2014 and August 2016.

William Hill will pay more than £5m for breaching the regulations and “divest themselves of the £1.2m they earned from transactions with the 10 customers”, the Commission said.

The company now has to appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and procedures

Neil McArthur, executive director at the Gambling Commission, said: “This was a systemic failing at William Hill which went on for nearly two years and today’s penalty package – which could exceed £6.2m – reflects the seriousness of the breaches.”

‘Get this right’

In a statement, William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock said: “William Hill has fully co-operated with the Commission throughout this process, introducing new and improved policies and increased levels of resourcing.

“We have also committed to an independent process review and will work to implement any recommendations that emerge from that review.

“We are fully committed to operating a sustainable business that properly identifies risk and better protects customers.

“We will continue to assist the Commission and work with other operators to improve practices in the areas identified.”

Mr Miller said the Gambling Commission was sending a message to the industry as a whole that “you need to take your responsibility seriously, you need to get this right”.

“We are always taking regulatory action and I don’t think this will be the last action we take,” he added.