William Hill hit with £19m fine after punter spends £23k in 20 minutes

William Hill hit with a record £19m fine after punter spends £23,000 in just 20 minutes

William Hill has been slapped with a record fine for allowing punters to lose too much money gambling – with one customer spending £23,000 in just 20 minutes.

The Gambling Commission said the High Street bookie must pay £19.2million for ‘social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings’.

The penalty – the biggest ever by the commission – came after the Mail revealed a record fine was coming its way.

Record fine: The Gambling Commission said William Hill must pay £19.2m for ‘social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings’

The punishment relates to brands having insufficient protections and allowing customers to deposit huge amounts of money without carrying out proper checks on players.

The gambling watchdog places obligations on bookies to ensure that punters are gambling responsibly and can dish out punishments if standards are not met. 

The commission discovered a string of failings from William Hill brands, including their bookie shops, williamhill.com and online casino site Mr Green.

The regulator found one customer was allowed to open an account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks, and another was able to deposit and lose £70,134 in a month.

William Hill was bought by the London-listed gambling group 888 in a £2billion deal last year. 

A spokesman for 888 said: ‘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’.

But 888 has been in its own hot water in recent months after it launched an investigation into a failure to follow anti-money laundering processes in the Middle East, with its boss unexpectedly quitting in February.

The previous largest fine was £17million against Entain in August last year.

However, Will Prochaska, strategy director at Gambling With Lives, a charity set up by families bereaved by gambling-related suicide, said yesterday: ‘Fines won’t stop the gambling industry from deliberately exploiting its customers and driving hundreds every year to suicide.’

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