William Hill-owned gambling company Mr Green has faced two separate warnings along with monetary fines totaling SEK31.5 million. The sanctions have been imposed by Spelinspektionen, the gambling regulatory body of Sweden, because of anti-money laundering, know-your-customer and responsible gambling failures.
The Swedish gambling watchdog issued a SEK30-million penalty to the company after finding some failures in Mr Green’s duty of care associated with responsible gambling, as the company had failed to undertake sufficient measures to help some customers minimize their gambling expenditures. Spelinspektionen also imposed a further SEK1.5-million fine due to the gambling operator’s anti-money laundering failures to comply with AML rules of the reformed Gambling Act 2018, as well as some failures to comply with its know-your-customer responsibilities.
The penalty’s size was based on the gambling company’s revenue, as well as on the severity of the violations.
The case against the William Hill-owned gambling company was given a start after the Swedish gambling regulator received certain complaints about Mr Green in November 2019. Spelinspektionen shared that it may revoke the operating license of Mr Greene in Sweden if such failures continue to occur systematically or repeatedly.
Then, Spelinspektionen rolled out a review of the gambling company’s anti-money laundering measures, during which 15 customer accounts have been examined. It turned out that a few customers had already been reported to the financial police by the operator – a move that, according to the country’s gambling regulatory body, indicated that Mr Green had suspected there had been money laundering violations associated with some of the registered customers’ accounts.
Mr Green’s Responsible Gambling Measures Fail to Protect Several High-Spending Customers
Reportedly, several customers who deposited an overall of more than SEK1 million became subject to investigation, including one whose deposits with the gambling operator totaled SEK39.3 million. The same player lost an overall amount of SEK 3.2 million and was found to have declared an income that was hardly able to cover their annual losses.
After the aforementioned customers stopped placing bets with Mr Green, the gambling company decided not to proceed with further investigation of possible money laundering.
Also, five more customers were checked in association with the responsible gambling measures of the company. The probe found that Mr Green had made an attempt to get in contact with the five individuals earlier by phone or email, in order to discuss the increases in their gambling activity. However, the investigation found one customer who had made a number of deposits on a daily basis on several occasions and who was reported to have lost an amount that surpassed their announced taxable income with the gambling company for several years.
As revealed by Spelinspektionen, the customer was considered at higher risk of being affected by gambling-related harm than of getting involved in money laundering or unlawful activities, as the player showed signs of a possible problem gambling behavior.
The customer’s account was officially shut in July last year, while further accounts were closed by Mr Green in 2020 in relation to responsible gambling measures. Still, however, the Swedish gambling regulator found that the gambling company’s contact with those customers was not sufficient considering the high deposit limits of more than SEK10,000.
An investigation found that a few other customers lost amounts that were more than three times their annual income, including a person who lost an amount worth six times their yearly income.