Biggest Fines Ever from UKGC for William Hill


The Gambling Commission in Great Britain has ordered three businesses within the William Hill Group to pay the Commission’s largest fine ever issued, a combined £19.2 million. The penalties come as a result of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.

The William Hill-owned online casino site, Mr Green, and the operator of more than 1,300 gambling venues across the UK, William Hill Organization Limited, were hit with various fines ranging from the land-based levy of £3 million to Mr Green with a penalty of £3.7 million, and most significantly operator WHG (International) Limited, with a £12.5 million smackdown.

License Nearly Suspended

Gambling Commission chief executive, Andrew Rhodes said: “When we launched this investigation the failings we uncovered were so widespread and alarming serious consideration was given to license suspension.”

A quick response of full cooperation to fix the failures appears to have saved the operator from even more stringent and robust enforcement.

However, because the operator immediately recognized their failings and worked with us to swiftly implement improvements, we instead opted for the largest enforcement payment in our history,” Rhodes added.

Just last week the GC fined 32Red and Platinum Gaming – two Kindred Group operators a combined total of £7.2 million. However, the William Hill penalties surpass even the previous record fines of £17 million – the amount Commissioners fined Entain (former GVC) in August 2022.

According to the public notice, the Commission has wrapped up more than two dozen enforcement cases resulting in more than £76 million in penalties for regulatory failures since the beginning of last year.

The first three months of 2023 have seen the following actions against UK-licensed operators:

  • William Hill Group businesses to pay record £19.2m for failures
  • Gambling Commission fines 32Red and Platinum Gaming £7.1m
  • Blue Star Planet faces £620,000 regulatory action
  • £6.1m fine for online operator In Touch Games
  • Online gambling business TonyBet fined £442,750
  • Vivaro Limited faces £337,631 regulatory action

Sanctions as Monetary Fines Levied Appear to be Working

Rhodes said: “In the last 15 months we have taken unprecedented action against gambling operators, but we are now starting to see signs of improvement. There are indications that the industry is doing more to make gambling safer and reducing the possibility of criminal funds entering their businesses.

Operators are using algorithms to spot gambling harms or criminal risk more quickly, interacting with consumers sooner, and generally having more effective policies and procedures in place.

Social responsibility failures at William Hill businesses include:

  • Allowing the potential for substantial losses in a short period:
  • A new customer spent £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks.
  • Another new account holder spent £18,000 in 24 hours with no checks.
  • At Mr Green another customer opened an account and spent £32,500 over the course of two days with no checks.
  • One customer lost £14,902 in an hour and 10 minutes at Mr Green.

Dozens of other social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) failures are listed in the overarching public announcement with more details available within Public Statements for each of the three Will Hill-owned entities.

WHG (International) Limited Public Statement

Mr Green Limited Public Statement

William Hill Organization Limited Public Statement

As part of a regulatory settlement, the total penalty of £19.2 million will be disbursed for socially responsible purposes.

A board member of the William Hill business will be made to oversee an improvement plan as an additional license condition. The firm will also undergo a third-party audit to make sure effective AML implementation, safer gambling policies, improved procedures, and control systems are in place and functioning as required.

Source: William Hill Group businesses to pay record £19.2m for failures, Gambling Commission, March 28, 2023

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