Money Laundering Issues Result in £6.2 Million Fine for William Hill

William Hill, one of the largest betting operators in the UK, has been fined £6.2 million for money laundering issues.

William Hill

William Hill is hit with a £6.2 million fine for failing to tackle money laundering issues. (Image: hl.co.uk)

In part of what appears to be an unrelenting effort to address the shortcomings of the country’s biggest brands, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has charged William Hill with two offences.

Following an investigation into the company’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility practices, the UKGC found multiple failures between 2014 and 2016.

Illicit Deposits Totalling Millions

The main incident that prompted action from the regulator is linked to ten accounts that made unlawful deposits. According to the UKGC’s official press release, ten customers made deposits that suggested their money came from sources that weren’t legal.

One of the most striking examples noted involved a man who deposited £654,000 over the course of nine months despite earing around £30,000 per annum. Another case saw managers fail to follow up a problem gambling case when a punter marked as an “amber risk” deposited £653,000 in 18 months.

As well as failing to carry out the necessary checks on the accounts and where the proceeds came from, William Hill made £1.2 million from the illicit deposits.

For these collective failings, the company will now have to forfeit the money it made from the ten accounts and pay £5 million for breaching its licensing conditions.

Review Will Show How Not to Do It

As well as a fine, William Hill has been ordered to appoint external auditors to review its anti-money laundering policies. If any further infractions are found, additional fines are possible and, moreover, the review will form the basis of a public document from which other operators can improve their own systems.

“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,” Neil McArthur, UKGC Executive Director said in a February 20 press release.

The latest fine is yet another example of the UKGC’s zero tolerance approach to safer gambling. This regulatory pressure, combined with impending government legislation linked to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), is forcing operators to tighten their policies.

While that may be financially demanding for businesses in the short term, it’s good news for players that want a safer, more socially responsible gaming industry.

Share Now: