William Hill Agrees to $100K Fine for Regulatory Shortcomings in Nevada

Posted on: September 21, 2022, 03:27h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 04:43h.

William Hill US and its parent company, Caesars Entertainment, will likely be fined $100K by the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) during the regulator’s meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22.

William Hill fine Nevada Gaming Commission
The William Hill Race & Sports Book at the Plaza Hotel & Casino. An online processing error on the William Hill app in Nevada wrongly duplicated bets for many bettors. William Hill has agreed to a $100K fine with the Nevada Gaming Commission for the regulatory failures. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Caesars acquired William Hill, one of the largest bookmakers in the UK and Europe, in 2020 for about $3.7 billion. Caesars last year sold William Hill’s non-US operations to 888 Holdings for $765 million.

Most William Hill sportsbooks in the US have since been rebranded Caesars Sportsbooks. But Caesars has kept the William Hill brand operational in Nevada and Florida.

Gaming regulators in Nevada say a glitch in William Hill’s technical operations that first arose back in 2015 and lasted through June 2021 affected at least 50K bets in Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) said in a 12-page complaint against the sportsbook that the company failed to notify the state regarding an online malfunction that wrongly duplicated customers’ bets.

NGCB officials said when customers told William Hill of the erroneously duplicated bets, the company didn’t immediately notify the Board or Commission about the malfunctions.

Settlement Agreed

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which reports and makes disciplinary recommendations to the NGC, claims William Hill has, since 2015, repeatedly refunded bets that were wrongly duplicated. State gaming regulations mandate that such a glitch be reported within three days to state regulators, something William Hill didn’t do, the NGCB complaint alleges.

William Hill and Caesars have agreed to the $100K penalty suggested by the NGCB. With the NGCB recommending to the Nevada Gaming Commission that the penalty satisfy the complaint, it’s largely expected that Caesars will be formally issued the fine during tomorrow’s meeting.

William Hill says its CBS Race and Sports Books’ online wagering application was at fault and responsible for duplicating the bets. The company said impatient online bettors and a sometimes lethargic network are to blame.

When the system was under load, the queue that holds the wagers would back up and a patron who placed an initial wager would see a processing message, become impatient, exit the application, and attempt the same wager again,” the NGCB complaint detailed. “When the system eventually stabilized, all items in the queue would be processed by the system, including the multiple wager attempts by the patron.”

William Hill told the NGCB last month that a “system patch” had since resolved the glitch. The patch was deployed in June 2021, and no complaints of duplicated bets have since been reported.

55K Wrong Bets

The NGCB complaint alleges that some 55K bets were wrongly duplicated because of network malfunction. The majority — about 42K bets — lost, resulting in William Hill wrongly taking $1.3 million in customer money that has since been returned.

William Hill said around 13K erroneously duplicated wagers won to incorrectly deliver bettors about $2 million. That money was since been recouped by the bookmaker.