Potential fine

UKGC to review regulatory consequences against William Hill for submitting incorrect data

United Kingdom
Reading time 1:48 min

London-based gaming operator William Hill could be fined by the UK Gambling Commission following news that the company submitted incorrect data to the regulator. The commission said it will now proceed to re-analyze figures related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on betting habits because of the error detected.

As a response to concerns that lockdowns could drive people to bet too much online, the UKGC has published regular updates since March 2020 on how much customers of big gaming firms, including William Hill, are losing.

However, in an update published on December 13, the regulator said it had discovered William Hill provided “incorrect datapoints” for the 16 months between March 2020 and September 2021, reports The Guardian.

Following the update, the Gambling Commission said it will proceed to re-analyze all its data, while not being able to publish correct information until February. It is also “reviewing any regulatory consequences” of William Hill’s failure to submit accurate data.

Statistical bulletins posted by the UKGC during the pandemic rely on submissions from firms with 80% of the UK market. These are seen as a key resource for both academics and health workers, which try to assess how the pandemic has affected harm caused by problem gambling.

While it is very unlikely the regulator could suspend or revoke William Hill’s license, it is believed a financial settlement could be reached with the company for having transgressed the terms set out for gambling businesses in Great Britain.

The news of William Hill's submitting of incorrect data, and the possibility of a fine, surface amid the company’s UK operations being in the process of a £2.2 billion ($2.9 billion) sale. This follows London-listed 888 Holdings reaching an agreement to buying it from US casino operator Caesars Entertainment.

In late December, 888 Holdings updated that the full completion of the takeover of the non-US assets of William Hill and William Hill International will occur during the second quarter of the current year, as opposed to a previously announced Q1 date. Moreover, during Q2 the company will publish a combined circular and prospectus for the acquisition and capital raise. A shareholder vote is scheduled to follow.

The capital raise, previously outlined by the business, has the goal of generating about £500 million ($674 million) of gross proceeds by issuing new equity. It is expected to be finished prior to the completion of the William Hill takeover.

“This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands,” 888 CEO Itai Pazner said of the acquisition last year.

Leave your comment:
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news