The UKGC has been publishing regular updates on its analysis of the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on Brits' betting habits since 2020. This is in response to growing concerns that social distancing and consecutive lockdowns could lead to excessive online gambling among local residents. The gambling regulator body also provided information about the losses incurred by large gambling operators like William Hill in these updates.
The UKGC's latest update was published on December 23 of last year. It revealed that William Hill provided "incorrect" data points for the 16-month period from March 2020 to September 2021. The gaming regulator stated that the findings led to it having to re-analyze all of its data and will not be able to release any information until February 2022.
These statistics, which were published by the UKGC during the COVID-19 pandemic, are based mainly on submissions from companies holding approximately 80% of the UK's gambling market. These statistics have been a valuable resource for academics and health workers who have tried to determine the relationship between the pandemic and gambling-related harm. The UKGC revealed that it was reviewing the potential consequences of William Hill's failure to provide correct data to the regulator.
The current regulatory powers of the gambling industry watchdog allow it to suspend and revoke operating licenses held by gambling companies. However, the body will only take such steps in extreme cases. It has become a more common practice for the country's gambling market to reach regulatory settlements that include financial conditions between the UKGC, gambling operators who have not complied with their license terms.
After being purchased by 888 Holdings, William Hill admitted that it had provided incorrect data to the country's gambling regulator body. This now poses the possibility of a fine for the gambling company.
William Hill's data error means that the UK's two largest gambling operators could be subject to financial penalties already this year, which is only four days old. In addition, Flutter Entertainment's Sky Vegas could face regulatory action in November 2021 after it was discovered that it had sent "free spins" promotions to thousands, many of whom were struggling with gambling addictions.