The UK Gambling Commission have hit William Hill Group with a record £19.2 million fine for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures from three gambling businesses run by the group.
WHG (International) Limited, which runs williamhill.com, will pay £12.5 million, Mr Green Limited, which runs mrgreen.com, will pay £3.7 million and William Hill Organization Limited, which runs 1,344 gambling premises throughout Britain, will pay £3 million.
Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive highlighted the seriousness of the failures but also said that the company had been quick to recognise these failings, had fully cooperated with the investigation and had worked quickly to implement improvements.
Mr 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 Gambling Commission outline the social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures of the company on their website along with public statements from the company.
All of the £19.2 million penalty will be directed towards socially responsible purposes as part of a regulatory settlement.
Additional licence conditions will also be added to ensure a business board member oversees an improvement plan, and that it undergoes a third-party audit to assess that it is effectively implementing its AML and safer gambling policies, procedures and controls.
The Commission has concluded 26 enforcement cases since the start of 2022. Operators have paid out over £76 million because of regulatory failures. Only last week the Commission fined two operators owned by Kindred Group plc a combined £7.2 million and is the largest enforcement case taken on by the regulator. The previous largest was £17 million action taken against Entain in August last year.
Mr Rhodes said: “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.”