For nearly two years, bookmaker William Hill was responsible for “systemic social responsibility and money laundering failures” says the Gambling Commission. As a result, William Hill has been ordered to pay £6.2 million for their anti-money laundering (AML) and social regulation failures and must also appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social policies and procedures.
Between November 2014 and August 2016, William Hill failed to have sufficient staff available in order to mitigate their risks and ensure that proper AML processes and regulations were adhered to. Consequently, William Hill gained over £1.2 million from allowing ten customers to deposit large sums of money, which were later discovered to be linked to criminal activities.
In addition, William Hill failed to properly attain the source of the money they were accepting as evidenced by one customer, who lived in a rented accommodation and only earned around £30,000 a year, being allowed to deposit £654,000 over a period of nine months without any checks or suspicious transaction reports being conducted.
Another customer was allowed to deposit £541,000 over a period of fourteen months based simply on a verbal communication claiming that this person’s potential income was £365,000 or more. After further investigation, it was discovered that this person’s annual salary was only £30,000 and the money they were depositing was actually stolen from their employer to fuel their gambling addiction.
“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,” says Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur. Going forward, McArthur said that they will be using the “full range” of their enforcement powers to ensure the safety and fairness of gambling.
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