William Hill Online To Pay Hefty Settlement In Light Of Regulatory Failures

Found to have breached anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations

An almost two-year investigation into William Hill Group (WHG), undertaken by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has resulted in the authority declaring it found “Systemic senior management failure to protect consumers and prevent money laundering”.

William Hill will pay a heavy penalty package of at least GBP 6.2 million for breaches in anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations, the UK Gambling Commission said.

In brief, the UKGC investigation found William Hill employed insufficient staff numbers to oversee the effectiveness of AML and social responsibility processes resulting in ten customers being allowed to deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences, of which WHG benefited to the tune of GBP 1.2 million.

WHG will pay GBP 5 million as a penalty for the breaches in regulations along with forfeiting the GBP 1.2 million earned from those transactions.

In addition, WHG has committed to the appointment of external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and procedures which it has agreed to share with the wider industry.

Neil McArthur, Executive Director, UKGC said: “We will use the full range of our enforcement powers to make gambling fairer and safer.

“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.

“Gambling businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they keep crime out of gambling and tackle problem gambling – and as part of that they must be constantly curious about where the money they are taking is coming from.”

The full text as well as detailed examples on each of the transactions can be read here: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/public-statements/William-Hill-Int-Regulatory-Settlement-February-2018.pdf

In a statement Tuesday, William Hill PLC’s chief executive officer, 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.”