Nevada Bookmaker Hit With Hefty Fine In U.K.

One of the largest sports book operators in the world is facing a hefty fine over its business in the United Kingdom.

The British Gambling Commission said in a news release Tuesday that there was “systemic senior management failure” going on at William Hill Group between late 2014 and August 2016. A regulatory investigation resulted in a penalty package of at least £6.2 million against the firm. The amount could grow if more information comes to light.

The Commission said that senior management “failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective.” Regulators singled out 10 customers that allegedly were able to deposit large sums of money to gamble online, with William Hill allegedly not properly checking to see if the customers were problem gamblers or were laundering money through the bookmaker.

William Hill was said to have earned £1.2 million in gambling winnings from those customers.

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In one instance, according to regulators, a customer was allowed to deposit £654,000 over nine months “without source of funds checks being carried out.” The Commission said that the customer “lived in rented accommodation” and only earned around £30,000 a year.

As a result of the investigation, William Hill will appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and procedures, the Commission said.

“We will use the full range of our enforcement powers to make gambling fairer and safer,” said Neil McArthur, Executive Director of the Commission. “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.

“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.”

In the U.S. state of Nevada, the only in the country with legal sports betting, William Hill is one of the top bookmakers. It has around 100 betting locations in the Silver State, including 74 “full-service” sports books.

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