Running a gambling-related business can be a bit tricky. It is expected that it has to comply with the different rules and regulations depending on where the business is located. Betting group William Hill has been on the wrong side of the law recently as they were fined by as much as £6.2 million by the gambling industry regulator after they have failed to protect consumers and prevent money laundering from taking place.
The Gambling Commission mentioned that for the last two years until August of 2016, William Hill has failed to spot problems including the possibility of money laundering. And also, they have broken rules when it comes to social responsibility regulations.
Just how big was the fine? It was the second largest penalty that has ever been recorded. The largest fine was made after the commission fined the betting company last year by £7.8 million last year because they have failed to protect vulnerable customers.
What exactly happened? The regulator mentioned that the senior management and staff of the company’s online operations failed to notice 10 customers that were able to deposit money that have been linked to criminal activities. And in return, the company has generated an income of £1.2 million.
A Blind Eye on Dirty Money?
According to Tim Miller who is the executive director of the Gambling Commission, he mentioned that there were actually signs of problem gambling especially when it comes to the spending patterns of some customers. This is something that the company should’ve been able to trace early.
He said that: “In many respects, this wasn’t properly resourced or staffed, so a lot of the checks weren’t happening. People were potentially able to gamble money that was the proceeds of crime; in one case, money stolen from a local council”. He also added that “There were clear warning signs, the escalating amount of money that was being spent should have set off alarm bells”.
Tom Watson who works as deputy leader of the Labour party and shadow culture secretary mentioned that the industry is actually turning a blind eye to dirty money.
Neil McArthur, who is the executive director of the regulator mentioned that the commission is willing to make use of the full range of its powers in order to ensure fairness and safety within the industry. He mentioned that “This was a systematic failing at William Hill which went on for nearly two years and today’s penalty package—which could exceed £6.2 million—reflects the seriousness of the breaches”.
He added that the industry is responsible in order to ensure that criminals have no place in the industry. Therefore, it is important for the industry to remain vigilant exactly where the money is actually coming from.
Is It Negligence?
During the investigation, the commission discovered that one customer was actually allowed to deposit £541,000 in a span of 14 months. That is despite the fact that William Hill assumed that his income was only at £365,000 annually. And because there wasn’t any questioning on the part of the company, it is quite clear that they either let it slide or there was negligent on their part.