William Hill to pay record £19 million penalty for 'widespread and alarming' failures
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William Hill is being forced to pay a record £19 million penalty after being penalised for ‘widespread and alarming’ failures.
The Gambling Commission announced the settlement - the largest in its history - after a string of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.
Gambling Commission chief executive Andrew Rhodes said: “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.”
WHG (International) Limited, which runs williamhill.com, will pay £12.5 million; Mr Green Limited, which runs mrgreen.com, will pay £3.7 million; while William Hill Organisation Limited, which operates 1,344 gambling premises across Britain, will pay £3 million.
The social responsibility failures included allowing one customer to open a new account and spend £23,000 in just 20 minutes.
On another occasion, someone was also able to open an account and spend £18,000 in 24 hours, while a third spent £32,500 over two days - all without any checks.
Ineffective controls allowed 331 customers to gamble with WHG (International) Limited, despite having self-excluded with Mr Green.
Anti-money laundering failures also saw customers permitted to deposit large amounts without the appropriate checks, with one customer able to spend and lose £70,134 in a month, another to lose £38,000 in five weeks, and another to lose £36,000 in four days.
A spokesman for 888, which owns William Hill, said: “The settlement relates to the period when William Hill was under the previous ownership and management. After William Hill was acquired, the company quickly addressed the identified issues with the implementation of a rigorous action plan.
“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.”
The settlement is the largest the Gambling Commission has enforced, with the previous largest being a £17 million action taken against Entain in August last year.
The Gambling Commission said all of the £19.2 million would be directed towards ‘socially responsible purposes’ as part of a regulatory settlement.
Please gamble responsibly. For help, support and advice about problem gambling, contact the National Gambling Helpline anytime on 0808 8020 133