System failures

Nevada Gaming Commission considers fining William Hill $100K for regulatory failures

2022-09-22
Reading time 1:46 min

The Nevada Gaming Commission is considering punishing the Caesars Entertainment-owned William Hill sportsbook with a $100,000 fine, following a four-count complaint filed in August by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The Board accused the sports betting operator of violating gaming regulations by failing to resolve a system failure that affected more than 50,000 bettors since 2015. 

In the complaint signed on August 19, the Control Board alleged that the company’s CBS Race and Sportsbook mobile wagering system produced duplicate wagers on some sports bets. When bettors complained to the company about this in June 2021, the company failed to report it to regulators, reports Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Officials of the Board claimed to have first heard about this problem a year ago, in September 2021, through contact with a bettor who had a dispute with the company. An attorney for William Hill signed a stipulation of settlement on the matter and agreed to pay a $100,000 fine. This agreement is expected to be formally accepted by the commission, and it will see William Hill waive the right to a public hearing on the charges.  

The Control Board stated William Hill conducted an internal investigation of the duplicate wagers in October and November 2021. It found around 42,000 defective duplicate losing wagers through December 20, 2021, resulting in customer losses of about $1.3 million. Around 13,000 erroneous duplicate winning wagers through that date resulted in bettors being paid around $2 million.

The company did not determine the cause of the issue, but concluded duplicate wagers were “most likely to occur during peak traffic times on CBS due to a flaw in how it processed multiple attempts by a customer to place the same wager while the system was under heavy load,” Review-Journal further reported. 

According to the company, when the system was heavily used, the queue that holds the wagers would back up. A customer who placed an initial wager would see a processing message, become impatient, exit the application and attempt to place the same wager again. When the system eventually stabilized, all items in the queue would be processed including the duplicate wagers. William Hill eventually installed a “system patch” to fix the problem.

A fourth count involved the Board discovering that a William Hill sportsbook writer at the Red Garter Casino in West Wendover placed multiple illegal wagers with money from the book’s cash drawer. This occurred on April 12 and went under the radar until May 12, when a Caesars Sports Book security manager emailed the Elko Control Board enforcement office with a report of a theft of $3,350. That alleged theft was not reported in a timely manner either. 

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