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Hefty penalty for bookmaker William Hill

British bookmaker William Hill is set to pay PS6.2 million ($A10.9 million) in penalties for “systemic social responsibility and money laundering failures”, the Gambling Commission has announced.

An investigation by the body revealed that between November 2014 and August 2016, the bookmaker breached anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

It also found senior management failed to mitigate risks and to have sufficient staff to ensure processes for adhering to the regulations were effective.

The failures also resulted in 10 customers being allowed to deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences, which resulted in gains for William Hill of more than PS1.2 million.

Executive director of the Gambling Commission Neil McArthur said they would use the “full range” of enforcement powers to ensure gambling is fairer and safer.

“This was a systemic failing at William Hill which went on for nearly two years and today’s penalty package – which could exceed APS6.2 million – reflects the seriousness of the breaches,” 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 body said some of the issues it found included the bookie not adequately seeking information about the source of punters’ funds or establishing whether they were problem gamblers.

Examples of failures included one customer being allowed to deposit PS654,000 over nine months without any checks being carried out.

The Gambling Commission said the customer lived in rented accommodation and was employed within the accounts department of a business – earning around APS30,000 a year.

In another case one person was allowed to deposit PS541,000 over 14 months, after an assumption based on a verbal conversation was made that their potential income could top PS365,000 a year, and no further probing undertaken.

In reality, the Gambling Commission said this person was earning PS30,000 a year and was stealing from their employer to fund their gambling habit.

As a result of the investigation, William Hill will have to pay more than PS5 million for breaching regulations and divest itself of the APS1.2 million it earned from transactions with the 10 customers.

The bookmaker will also have to appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social policies and procedures, and share findings with the wider industry.

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