Record fine against William Hill

Record fine of multi-million-pound against William Hill as penalty for social responsibility failures announced by the British regulator.

The Gambling Commission has broken its penalty record again. It’s announced a whopping £19.2m record fine against William Hill, which was bought by 888 Holdings last year. The penalty is the largest in British gambling history, surpassing the £17m fine issued against Entain last August.

The fine, which comes just days after the Gambling Commission announced penalties totalling £7.1m against Kindred Group, was issued for shortcomings in social responsibility and anti-money laundering committed between May 2020 and October 2021.

888 says that it had already been notified that a financial penalty would be issued and had accounted for it in its latest trading update. It stressed that the failings occurred before its £2bn takeover of William Hill and that it has already made improvements since taking control of the brand.

Some of the infractions occurred while William Hill belonged to the US casino giant Caesars, which bought the company in September 2020 but decided to sell off its European assets while retaining the US-facing online sports betting arm.


888 said in a statement: “The settlement relates to the period when William Hill was under the previous ownership and management. After William Hill was acquired, the company quickly addressed the identified issues with the implementation of a rigorous action plan.”

It added: “The entire group shares the Gambling Commission’s commitment to improving compliance standards across the industry and we will continue to work collaboratively with the regulator and other stakeholders to achieve this.”

888 is having a challenging time since its acquisition of William Hill. It finished 2022 with debts of £1.8bn and reported a decline in revenue of 3 per cent to £1.85bn (£1.907bn). In January, Itai Pazner announced his departure as CEO amid revelations of failings on VIP accounts in the Middle East.

Chairman Lord Mendelsohn is still seeking a new CEO. Meanwhile, the group aims to pay off £347m in loans this year.

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