William Hill Brand Mr Green Hit With £3 Million Fine

  • Brand had “systemic failings” in problem gambler protection, anti-money laundering processes
  • UKGC found that problem gamblers were allowed to lose massive sums and continue depositing
  • Breaches date back to before William Hill acquired Mr Green for £242m ($311m) in 2018
  • Fine comes as part of UKGC's wider crackdown on Britain's online gambling industry
man in shirt and tie selects fine symbol on digital screen
William Hill’s online gambling brand Mr Green has been hit with a £3m fine owing to systemic failings in customer protection and anti-money laundering practices. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A significant penalty

The online gambling platform Mr Green has to pay a fine of £3m ($3.9m) due to its failure to properly protect gambling addicts. 

not using proper systems to verify the sources of its customers’ funds

The William Hill-owned brand received the penalty from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). As well as failing to safeguard problem gamblers, Mr Green was not using proper systems to verify the sources of its customers’ funds. 

Specific instances of failings

The UKGC’s investigation that led to the fine found “systemic failings” in Mr Green’s operations, with a compliance assessment conducted in July 2018 revealing specific breaches. This was before William Hill took control of the brand after acquiring it for £242m ($311m) in December 2018.

One instance involved a customer who had won £50,000 (£64,000), then quickly lost it by continuing to gamble and depositing thousands more pounds. The gambler did not have their account frozen, as should have been the case. 

In another case, Mr Green accepted a gambler’s ten-year-old document as proof of their source of funds. The document was an insurance claim worth £176,000 ($226,000). The customer had deposited over £1m ($1.3m) during the lifetime of their account. 

William Hill responds

Following the investigation, UKGC executive director Richard Watson remarked that Mr Green’s failings “affected a significant number of customers across its online casinos.”

Parent company William Hill was quick to note that the shortcomings had occurred before it took control of the brand. It added that, since the acquisition of Mr Green, “we have implemented enhanced policies and processes designed to ensure that the business meets all requisite compliance standards.”

An ongoing crackdown

The UKGC has been cracking down on online operators that are not ensuring adequate protection of problem gamblers. It has also been making sure to penalize businesses that do not have proper anti-money laundering systems in place or are failing to implement them. 

the ninth operator to face disciplinary proceedings from the UKGC

The £3m penalty makes Mr Green the ninth operator to face disciplinary proceedings from the UKGC on these grounds.

Since 2018, the commission has handed out more than £20m ($25.7m) worth of fines. Six gambling firms have surrendered their operating license and no longer deal with consumers in Britain.

What the future holds

As well as the £3m ($3.9m) fine, Mr Green also has to cover the £10,349.77 ($13,317) worth of legal costs for the UKGC. It has also paused the promotion of its online casino by UK affiliates.

The money that is received by the commission through these fines goes to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. The organization helps to support and provide treatment for gambling addicts. 

Richard Watson said consumers in Britain have the right to know that online gambling operators are implementing the proper checks and balances to ensure they are kept safe. The UKGC will continue to punish those operators that fail in this regard. 

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