Dominating the UK bingo and gambling scene today was Mr Green. The William Hill-owned Mr Green has been hit with a £3 million fine from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for its failure in protecting problem gamblers.
The online bingo, sports betting and casino operator now becomes the ninth gambling business to be penalized as part of a regulator probe, ongoing since 2018, that has seen fines dished out in excess of £20m.
In the two years since the crackdown began, a total of six operators, some with UK bingo sites, have surrendered their licence and are no longer able to transact with consumers in Britain. Overall, 22 individual Personal Management Licence holders have been examined by the Gambling Commission. As well as the six that surrendered their licence, six received a formal warning, one received advice to conduct, seven investigations are still ongoing and no action was taken against two.
Anti-money laundering failures
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Executive Director, said in a statement on the UKGC website:
“Our investigation uncovered systemic failings in respect of both Mr Green’s social responsibility and AML controls which affected a significant number of customers across its online casinos. Consumers in Britain have the right to know that there are checks and balances in place which will help keep them safe and ensure gambling is crime-free – and we will continue to crack down on operators who fail in this area,”
The statement also detailed the failings of Mr Green:
- Did not carry out social responsibility interaction with a customer who won £50,000, gambled it away and deposited thousands more pounds;
- Took ten-year-old evidence of a £176,000 claims payout as satisfactory evidence of source of funds (SOF) for a customer who deposited over £1m;
- Accepted a photograph of a laptop screen showing currency in dollars on an alleged crypto trading account as adequate SOF.
Mr Green will pay the £3m penalty to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms due to the company's failure to have effective procedures in place to prevent harm and money laundering.