The British bookmaker William Hill could suffer a regulatory fine after information that it submitted incorrect data to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has emerged. The revelation forced the country’s gambling regulatory body to dispose of its analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on local people’s health and betting habits.
Since 2020, the UKGC has published regular updates of its analysis about the aforementioned effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Brits’ betting patterns as a response to the growing concerns that consecutive lockdowns and social distancing measures could trigger excessive online gambling among local residents. In these updates, the gambling regulatory body also included information on the losses generated by the customers of large gambling operators such as William Hill.
In its latest update, which was made public on December 23rd, 2021, the UK Gambling Commission revealed that it had discovered that some “incorrect datapoints” for the 16-month period from March 2020 to September 2021 were provided by William Hill. As a result of the findings, the industry watchdog said that it would have to make a fresh analysis of all its data and would be unable to announce proper information until February 2022.
The aforementioned statistics published by the Commission during the coronavirus crisis, rely mostly on submissions from companies that currently hold about 80% of the UK gambling market. They have been seen as a major resource for health workers and academics who have been trying to assess the correlation between the Covid-19 pandemic and gambling-related harm. The UKGC has revealed that it was currently reviewing any consequences that the failure of William Hill to submit correct data could have for the regulator.
Revelations of Incorrect Data Supply Come to Light amid Ongoing William Hill UK Operations’ Sale
Currently, the gambling industry watchdog has regulatory powers that allow it to suspend or revoke the operating licences held by gambling companies. Such steps, however, are taken by the body in extreme cases only. Reaching regulatory settlements featuring financial conditions between the UKGC and gambling operators that have failed to comply with the terms of their licences has been a much more common practice in the country’s gambling market.
The revelations that William Hill had submitted incorrect data to the country’s gambling regulatory body now brings the risk of a penalty for the UK operations of the gambling company, which is currently in the process of a massive £2.2-billion sale, after they were purchased by the 888 Holdings.
The data error made by William Hill means that the company is now one of two major gambling operators in the UK that could face a financial penalty in early 2022. In November 2021, it was revealed that Flutter Entertainment-owned Sky Vegas could also face regulatory action after it was found that the company had sent “free spin” promotions to thousands of recovering gambling addicts who were trying to stay away from their harmful gambling habits.
The UK Government is now in the final stage of its massive review of local gambling laws and regulations, with proposals for further measures expected to be officially unveiled in a few months.