Gambling Commission imposes record-breaking fine on William Hill
The UK regulator has handed down another multi-million-pound penalty for social responsibility failures.
The Gambling Commission has imposed a record-breaking £19.2m fine on William Hill, acquired by 888 Holdings last year. This penalty surpasses the previous £17m fine against Entain in August and is the largest in British gambling history.
Issued just days after the Gambling Commission announced £7.1m in penalties against Kindred Group, the fine concerns social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures between May 2020 and October 2021.
888 noted that it had anticipated a financial penalty and included it in its latest trading update. It emphasized that the shortcomings took place before its £2bn acquisition of William Hill and that improvements have been made since taking over the brand.
Some violations occurred while William Hill was owned by US casino giant Caesars, which purchased the company in September 2020 but later sold its European assets, keeping the US-facing online sports betting division.
In a statement, 888 said: “The settlement relates to the period when William Hill was under previous ownership and management. After acquisition, the company quickly addressed the identified issues with a rigorous action plan.”
888 added that it shares the Gambling Commission’s commitment to improving compliance standards across the industry and will continue collaborating with the regulator and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.
888 has faced challenges since acquiring William Hill, ending 2022 with £1.8bn in debt and a 3% revenue decline to £1.85bn. In January, CEO Itai Pazner resigned amid revelations of VIP account failings in the Middle East.
Chairman Lord Mendelsohn is searching for a new CEO, while the group plans to repay £347m in loans this year.