William Hill takes a huge bad beat

Sports-betting giant takes a huge hit in for of an $8.6 million fine by the Gambling Commission for the lack of customer protection and prevention of money laundering.

It is the second largest fine in the history of the Commission. Online-gaming operator, 888, famously got a £7.8 million check because the regulators found they failed to protect vulnerable customers.

The Gambling Commission said that William Hill failed also to notice obvious signs of problem gambling. They even violated anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

They discovered ten occasion when customers were able to deposit money linked to criminal activities, which put £1.2 million in the pocket of the betting firm.

“In many respects, this wasn’t properly resourced or staffed, so a lot of the checks weren’t happening. People were potentially able to gamble money that was the proceeds of crime; in one case, money stolen from a local council,” – told Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission told BBC. “There were clear warning signs, the escalating amount of money that was being spent should have set off alarm bells.”

Tom Watson, of the Labor party, also addressed the issue on Twitter.

The company will have to pay £5m for breaching regulations and an additional £1.2m for their earnings from the 10 transactions.

In one case a certain customer was allowed to make deposits of £541,000 in total over a timespan of 14 months, even though, William Hill staff estimated his annual income at £365,000. This particular gambler was making about £30,000 a year and was funding his addiction by stealing money from the company he worked for.

William Hill’s 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.”

Sounds good, Phil.

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