William Hill subsidiaries Mr Green and Evoke have agreed to pay a combined SEK1.5m (£117,000/€138,000/$147,000) in penalty fees to Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen after the regulator determined that both “breached their reporting obligations” as licensees.
While Mr Green is licensed under its own name, Evoke is responsible for all other William Hill brands in Sweden, including William Hill itself as well as Bertil, Mama Mia Bingo and Vinnarum.
All licensees in Sweden must report certain information such as their earnings from the market twice per year to Spelinspektionen.
These reports – one for the first six months of the calendar year and one for the last six – must be submitted no later than the 20th day of the month after the period ends.
However, the regulator said that Mr Green and Evoke had both failed to report certain required information.
The businesses said that it had “not been technically possible” to submit certain information, while adding that documentation had been submitted but that the regulator had not received this.
As a result, Spelinspektionen began supervision of Mr Green and Evoke in September 2021.
The businesses then submitted some of the required information on 22 December, 2021, and – following a request from Spelinspektionen – provided supplementary information on 14 March, 2022.
However, the regulator said that upon review, it determined that this information “on several points differed from the information that the company had previously reported”.
This, the licensees said, was due to “technical errors” and differing interpretations of some of the terminology in the requirements. For example, it said that it was unclear whether to count a customer that reached their deposit limit on three seperate occasions as one instance worth reporting or three.
In addition, the licensees said that for certain two-part questions, they reported combined totals rather than listing two totals seperately.
However, the regulator noted that Mr Green and Evoke had still failed to provide the necessary information. While it acknowledged that this was partly due to the fact that reporting certain material had been “technically impossible” for them, it said that it “does not consider it to be excusable” that they did not have the technical ability to do so.
“Spelinspektionen considers that the lack of reporting obligation has been going on for a long time and on a total of five different occasions, and the information that has nevertheless been
provided despite technical difficulties has subsequently proved to be incorrect,” the regulator said.
It also noted, though, that the businesses had taken steps to resolve these problems.
“There is thus no indication that the infringement will be repeated,” it said.
Ultimately, it determined that the infringements were worthy of a penalty fee, which is based on the amount of turnover a licensee brings in. It noted that in considering the size of the penalty, it weighed the fact that the infringements themselves were not too serious against the fact that they had gone on for a significant amount of time.
For Mr Green, it set this penalty fee at SEK1m, while for Evoke, it came to SEK450,000.
Both Mr Green and Evoke are set to be acquired by online gambling giant 888 in a £1.95bn deal for William Hills non-US assets, after the UK-based bookmaker was itself acquired by Caesars last year. Last week, 888 shareholders gave their approval to the deal.