The UK Gambling Commission has imposed a bitter fine of £6.2 million to William Hill for money laundering breaches. According to the Commission’s report, the bookmaker accepted a huge money deposit linked to crime, without having checked the source of those depositors beforehand.
One of the most notable cases was a customer who paid William Hill £650,000 over 18 months. In another one, the bookmaker accepted deposits of £541,000 over 14 months and £365,000 for 12 months while the depositor had a £30,000 annual salary.
All these cases, occurred between November 2014 and August 2016, the checking procedure was seamlessly avoided by the operators’ anti fraud department. In other words, the breaches were not a result of “system failure” but due to human omission.
“Senior management at William Hill failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective”, the Commission reported.
According to Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission's executive director: “This was a systemic failing at William Hill which went on for nearly two years and today’s penalty package reflects the seriousness of the breaches. 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 of £6.2 million covers both the total amount deposited by the players and the company’s profit.
The bookmaker conformed to the Commission’s suggestions introducing “new and improved policies and increased levels of resourcing”, as Philip Bowcock, Chief executive of William Hill claimed.