Mr Green to pay £3m for AML and harm prevention failings

27 February 2020

William Hill-owned Mr Green is to pay £3m after being found to have breached rules over preventing harm and money laundering in Great Britain.

The operator has become the ninth business to face action as part of a Gambling Commission probe that has led to more than £20m in penalty packages since 2018.

The Commission conducted a compliance assessment of Mr Green in July 2018 – prior to MRG Group's acquisition by William Hill in January 2019 - in which three customer accounts were examined. The regulator found that the operator did not carry out social responsibility interaction with a customer who won £50,000, gambled it away and deposited thousands more pounds.

Mr Green also took 10-year-old evidence of a £176,000 claims pay-out as satisfactory evidence of source of funds (SOF) for a customer who deposited over £1m, and accepted a photograph of a laptop screen showing currency in dollars on an alleged crypto trading account as adequate SOF.

Mr Green has acknowledged that between November 2014 and November 2018 it did not have effective and adequately resourced AML controls in place to address risks presented by higher risk customers.

The settlement agreement consists of a £3m payment to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in lieu of a financial penalty. It must also cover Commission costs of £10,349.77.

Mr Green has also committed to conducting a compliance assessment of an additional 130 customers.

“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," said Gambling Commission executive director Richard Watson.

“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.”

Referencing the Mr Green case in its 2019 financial results, which were released earlier this week, William Hill said: “Since we completed our acquisition we have implemented enhanced policies and processes designed to ensure that the business meets all requisite compliance standards.”

Since the Commission’s enforcement activity began six operators have surrendered their licence and can no longer transact with consumers in Britain.

During the course of investigations into the nine most serious operating licence cases the Commission examined the actions of 22 individual personal management licence holders.

Of these, six surrendered their licence, six received a formal warning, one received an advice to conduct, seven are still ongoing and no further action was taken against two.