Oh, dear. It looks like nation-wide bookmaker William Hill are in a bit of a pickle after a punters group has accused them of delaying– or just downright avoiding — paying out prize money to players by referring them constantly to their withdrawal terms. Justicefortpunters.org have notified the UK Gambling Commission of these delays and expect them to take action against William Hill. According to The Guardian newspaper, Justiceforpunters claim that the rules set out by the betting operator are discriminatory and require a full-on investigation. Will this be enough to hurt William Hill's reputation? Only time will tell.
This whole issue began when the founder of the Justiceforpunters group, Brian Chappell, claimed one of William Hill's successful punters was forced to wait over a month before they saw their £13,000 winnings.
Having opened an account with the betting shop in July, the punter then asked for Chappell's help to withdraw £20,000 from his account. The punter was known for placing large bets on horse racing and deposited close to £7,100 over his first four weeks at the online casino.
Things took a rather bad turn when William Hill then barred the punter from making any more bets that exceeded £100 in value. Instead, he was left to contend with only making wagers between £10 and £50. Thoroughly annoyed, the punter then requested all his money (a total of around £19,000) to be withdrawn from his account as well as his first deposit. But William Hill refused, demanding to see some identification. The punter, naturally, complied, but the betting operator wasn't having it. They threatened to close down his account, claiming that they were unable to verify his documents.
The £20,000 in his account then disappeared on 24th September and failed to materialize in the punter's bank account. After some outrageous complaining to William Hill, the funds then arrived two days later in the punters account. He could even bet and deposit even though William Hill had closed his account. This, according to Chappell, demonstrates how companies have been unfair towards players and that when they lose, the company never asks for ID.
It's unclear as of yet how this development would affect William Hill. They are large enough company to continue business relatively smoothly even after the UKGC investigates these claims. However, this sort of attitude does reflect poorly on them. In their defensive statement, they claimed to carry out strict security checks because they are obliged to under UKGC regulations in case of money-laundering.
“We perform a number of automatic checks immediately after account registration,” they said, “using information provided by the customer, along with electoral roll and debit/credit card verification.” They went on to say that further checks are needed in case they are unable to verify the account holder's identity, especially in the case of a large bet or sizable win. These are sound reasons to carry out these checks yet they didn't confirm what they considered a “sizable win”.
William Hill are already in hot water after the 888 Rank Holding Groups pulled out of a potential 3-way merger. It seems like nobody is on their side lately and we wonder if their bad luck will continue of if they'll pull themselves out of this slump.