The BBC reports that between January 2020 and October 2021, the UKGC uncovered numerous problems at William Hill. The company is accused of having taken insufficient action against potential money laundering and at the same time of having neglected player protection.
Among other things, a customer was able to use a sum of GBP 32,500 (approx. EUR 36,964) within two days of registration without the origin of the money being questioned. Another customer is said to have gambled away almost £15,000 in just over an hour and this was not questioned either. Likewise, a customer’s credit limit was increased more quickly than would have been possible if the specified 24-hour period had been observed.
The deficiencies were so serious that we seriously considered suspending [William Hill’s] license.Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive, UK Gambling Commission Source
Since the company was very cooperative, the license was not suspended in the end, but “only” the record fine was imposed. Just last year, the UKGC claimed a similar fine of £17 million (approx. €19.3 million) from gaming company Entain.
Who is behind William Hill?
The British gambling provider William Hill operates the platforms williamhill.com and mrgreen.com, among others. The company also has over 1,300 betting shops across the UK. In mid-2021, another gaming company, 888 Holdings, prepared a takeover bid.
After the takeover by 888 Holdings was delayed for a while, the acquisition was finally completed in the course of 2022.
William Hill needs to do more checks
According to the BBC, 888 Holdings blamed the previous operator of the three portals. After the takeover, a “rigorous action plan” was initiated to clear up these problems, the parent company said.
Andrew Rhodes, on behalf of the UKGC, called for William Hill to carry out more inspections in the future. On average, average gamblers spend less than £300 a year on gambling. It should not be possible for such large sums to be wagered without verification, as has been tolerated on the William Hill portals in the past.
The fine William Hill has to pay will go to charity, according to the UKGC.