The Gambling Commission has issued the betting company William Hill with a package of fines worth £6.2 million in response to breaches of anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.
According to the commission, William Hill did not do enough to make sure that its customers were not involved in money laundering or that the sources of their funds were not linked to criminal activities.
Its oversights are understood to have enabled a total of 10 customers to deposit and place bets with large sums of money generated through criminal activities, which then resulted in gains for William Hill of around £1.2 million.
The view of the authorities is that the betting company’s senior management team should have done more to determine where the money in question was coming from and whether or not the people depositing it were problem gamblers.
Failing to do so will now see William Hill paying a fine of £5 million and divesting the £1.2 million it is estimated to have made through the transactions that should have been prevented.
Plans are in place for William Hill to appoint external auditors to assess its anti-money laundering policies and procedures and for any relevant recommendations to be shared with the wider betting industry.
“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,” said Neil McAuthur, the Gambling Commission’s executive director.
“Gambling businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they keep crime out of gambling and tackle problem gambling - and as part of that they must be constantly curious about where the money they are taking is coming from.”
The fines issued to William Hill are the second largest penalties received by a betting company in the UK, with the Gambling Commission having hit 888 with a package of fines totalling £7.8 million in August 2017 in response to “serious failings in handling its vulnerable customers”.
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