20 Feb 2018
The Gambling Commission has ordered the William Hill Group (WHG) to pay a penalty of at least £6.2 million for breaching anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility regulations.
The regulator conducted an investigation which revealed that between November 2014 and August 2016 commited a number of irregularities.
It found that there were not enough staff to ensure that their AML and social processes were effective.
As a result, ten customers were able to ‘deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences which resulted in gains for WHG of around £1.2m.’
WHG did not seek to verify the source of funds or if they were problem gamblers, the Gambling Commission said.
Other cases include a customer who lived in rented accommodation and earned a salary of £30,000 annually was allowed to deposit £654,000 over nine months without source of funds checks being checked.
It also failed its regulatory responsibilities over another customer who was allowed to deposit £541,000 over 14 months after a worker assumed that the customer’s potential income could be £365,000 per annum.
It turned out, however, that the customer was actually earning around £30,000 annually, and was funding his gambling habit from theft.
Gambling Commission executive director Neil McArthur said: “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 penalty comprise £5m WHG will pay for breaching regulations, and it will also divest the £1.2m earned from transactions with the ten customers.
If victims of the ten customers are identified, they will be reimbursed, the regulator ruled.
William Hill CEO, Philip Bowcock, commented: “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.”
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