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William Hill plc, which claims to be one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies and trusted brands in the industry was charged by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) a fine of £6.2m (€7m/$8.6m) for abysmally failing to protect consumers and preventing money laundering.

In a statement, the UKGC said it had identified “systemic senior management failure” across anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations between November 2014 and August 2016.

In a scrutiny conducted by the national regulator, it was found out that the senior management fell short of and “failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective”.

The UKGC said that this led to 10 customers depositing a huge sum of money linked to criminal offences, resulting in gains of £1.2m for William Hill.

The regulator ruled that William Hill “did not adequately seek information about the source of their funds or establish whether they were problem gamblers”.

In this view, the bookmaker will pay more than £5m for breaching regulations and divest themselves of the £1.2m they earned from the transactions with the 10 customers, with any victims of these to be reimbursed

The UKGC also said in case further incidents of failures relating to this case emerge, William Hill will divest any money made from these transactions.

In addition, the bookmaker is to appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and procedures, with plans to share learning with the wider industry.

Neil McArthur, the Executive Director of the UKGC, said: “We will use the full range of our enforcement powers to make gambling fairer and safer. This was a systemic failure 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.”

Source: European Gaming Media and Events