Corporate By William Hill PLC

Statement re Reel King

Gaming Machine Supplier Inspired Gaming Group (“IGG”) and William Hill Organisation Ltd (“William Hill”) have agreed to make a joint ex gratia payment of £300,000 to the Responsible Gambling Trust; to be used at the Trust's discretion.

The payment, which is being made with the agreement of the Gambling Commission, relates to a self reported notifiable event which occurred when an updated version of a Category B3 game, Reel King (developed by Astra Games) was uploaded to the William Hill retail estate in May 2012. As a result of a technical fault the return to player (RTP) percentage advertised in the game help pages did not reflect the actual average RTP percentage of this random B3 game. Once the technical fault was confirmed, an immediate report was made to the Gambling Commission, but the displayed return to player was not corrected until the fault was rectified by the end of July 2012.

Whilst individual customers are unlikely to have been significantly disadvantaged, it is recognised by both parties that there has been a breach of the technical standards, as the required integration testing was incomplete, and that as a result customers were given incorrect information as to the intended RTP, which persisted after the error was identified. While the impact on individual customers would have been minimal, this was not in accordance with the licensing objective to be fair and open, nor with our corporate policies and priorities, which require adherence at all times and in all respects to the licensing objectives.

Both IGG and William Hill regret this incident, which revealed some deficiencies in the way in which our corporate commitment to social responsibility was reflected in practice. This has since been remedied and William Hill apologises unreservedly to those customers who may have been affected. Both companies re-affirm their commitment to comply with their regulatory obligations, particularly those around ensuring customer fairness at all times.

Matthew Hill from the Gambling Commission said:         

The Gambling Commission (“the Commission”) acknowledges that both Inspired Gaming Group (“IGG”) and the William Hill Organisation Ltd (“William Hill”) reported the fault, as required, at the earliest opportunity and kept the Commission closely informed with the progress of investigations.  The Commission welcomes the way IGG and William Hill reacted once they became aware of the issue and commend the remedial efforts they have taken to ensure that the licensing objectives are given proper priority. The Commission welcomes the ex gratia payment that has been made in recognition that they would not wish to benefit commercially from this event and their agreement that the lessons learnt from this episode should be shared with other operators.

The Commission would therefore like to take this opportunity to remind all operators that:

  • It will hold Boards and key PMLs accountable for making sure social responsibility and adherence to the licensing objectives are central considerations
  • Operators will not be permitted to benefit commercially from any failures to give proper priority to social responsibility
  • Operators should be open as early as possible with notifiable events  (as IGG and William Hill were) and as required by licence condition on key events or they will exacerbate the risk of regulatory sanctions.