Protection failures result in £6.2m William Hill penalty package

Protection failures result in £6.2m William Hill penalty package

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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Represents second largest fine issued by UKGC

William Hill Group (WHG) has been hit with a £6.2m penalty package by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for “systemic social responsibility and money laundering failures”.

In its statement the UKGC states that WHG’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".

Following the near two year investigation, beginning in November 2014 and culminating August 2016, ten customers were able to deposit £1.2m which had links to criminal offences.

For breaching regulations the UK bookmaker is to pay £5m, in addition to divesting the £1.2m earned from the transaction, with victims of the customers to be reimbursed where they can be identified.

Neil McArthur, Executive Director at the 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.”

Acknowledging its failings, WHG details that external auditors are to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies.

Philip Bowcock, William Hill CEO, commented: “William Hill has fully cooperated 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.”

Totally Gaming says: The figure handed down to William Hill in this penalty package represents the enormity of the breach, with it alarming that such huge funds with criminal links could be deposited. This should be a lesson in the importance of strict and stringent anti money laundering and social responsibility procedures.

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