This week the UK Gambling Commission announced that they've fined William Hill Group £19.2 million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures related to its William Hill online, William Hill land-based business, and Mr Green operations.
The fee structure is broken down into the individual groups, with William Hill's online business responsible for £12.5 million, Mr Green responsible for £3.7 million, and William Hill Organization responsible for £3 million. The total fee of £19.2 million beats out the previous high total of £17 million, which was issued to Entain last year.
Even though the fines are hefty, the UKGC wasn't completely satisfied. The regulator announced that licence conditions will be placed on William Hill, and that continued failings could see the company's licence revoked. The company is expected to have a board member that oversees the improvement plans that will be put into place, and those policies will have to undergo independent audits for compliance.
Regarding the fine UKGC CEO 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."
The UKGC conducted investigations into the group and found violations running from January 2020 to October 2021. One customer was able to open accounts and spend upwards of £23,000 in 20 minutes without having any checks, while another at Mr Green spent £32,500 with no checks over two days. There were also instances of players exhibiting gambling-related harm with no checks. The company also allowed 331 customers to bet with William Hill Group International even though they were self-excluded from Mr Green.
There were also multiple anti-money laundering failings. One time the company allowed an international player at a land-based location to place a £100,000 wager when his credit limit was only £70,000.
Rhodes emphasised the UKGC's enforcement, stating: "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 reducing 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."