The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to fine operators of bookmaker William Hill and several affiliates $100,000 to settle a four-count lawsuit filed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board in August.
Three counts of the complaint stemmed from a flaw in the company’s CBS Race and Sports Book mobile betting system, which produced thousands of duplicate bets on certain sportsbooks.
The Control Commission’s complaint said the company did not respond quickly to regulators when the issue of duplicate betting first arose. William Hill also failed to respond promptly to customer complaints, according to the complaint drafted by Deputy Attorney General Michael Somps.
A fourth count of the complaint related to the company’s failure to respond promptly to an alleged theft by a sports betting writer at the Red Garter Casino in West Wendover, who allegedly placed several illegal bets with money from the drawer- book case.
Jeffrey Hendricks, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Regulatory and Compliance for Caesars Entertainment Inc., operator of William Hill, appeared before the commission and apologized for the issues raised in the complaint.
First event in 2015
Somps said William Hill conducted an internal investigation into duplicate betting in October and November 2021. The investigation determined that the duplicates were from bets made for the same amount on the same event at the same odds within 60 seconds. following the initial bet.
He said the software flaws were similar to those encountered by CG Technology when it was fined by the commission in 2018. William Hill acquired CGT in 2020.
The investigation determined that double betting had occurred since 2015. Prior to June 2021, in cases where a customer may have contacted customer service alleging an erroneous double bet, the customer was refunded the amount of the double bet for solve the problem, but no further. measures have been taken.
The survey found around 42,000 erroneous duplicate lost bets through December 20, 2021, resulting in customer losses of around $1.3 million.
Approximately 13,000 incorrect double winning bets to date have resulted in approximately $2 million being paid out to customers. William Hill agreed to pay on all winning bets, resulting in an unexpected bonus for these players.
The company has not determined the root cause of the betting issue, except to conclude that duplicate bets were more likely to occur during peak hours on CBS due to a flaw in the way CBS handled multiple attempts by a customer to place the same bet while the system was under heavy load.
The company determined that when the system was heavily used, the queue containing bets would be saved. A customer who placed an initial bet would see a processing message, grow impatient, exit the app, and attempt to place the same bet again. When the system finally stabilized, all items in the queue would be processed, including duplicate bets. William Hill eventually installed a “system patch” to fix the problem.
The complaint against the company included its failure to notify regulators of the issue within three business days and failing to provide adequate customer service when complaints poured in.
Customer service solutions
Hendricks said customer service issues have been resolved with a chatbot to communicate with out-of-state customers and more in-state staff to speak to Nevada customers.
“Our customer service standards were not up to our expectations during the period reflected in the settlement and clearly not up to the standards of the board and the commission,” Hendricks told the commissioners.
He said that since July, 99% of Nevada complaints have been answered and 93% of them were answered in 30 seconds or less.
In the complaint involving the sports betting maker in West Wendover, a cash drawer audit found a theft took place on April 12, but it wasn’t discovered until May 12 when an official from the Caesars Sports Book security emailed the Elko Board of Control’s enforcement office with a report of a $3,350 theft.
Hendricks told the commissioners on Thursday that the book author accused of placing the illegal bets had been fired and the case had been turned over to law enforcement.