Mr Green to Close Down Its UK Sportsbook Operations

Fans of Mr Green Sportsbook in the UK are in for a disappointment this month. The gaming company 888 Holdings has announced that it is going to close down Mr Green Sportsbook in the UK. The company has already informed its British customers about this decision. It has also shared every bit of information with them about pending bets and winnings.

By Penny - September 5, 2022

888 Holdings has decided to stop operating Mr Green Sportsbook in the UK this month. The decision of closure was taken a few months after the operator closed down its German sports betting operations. The operator had announced earlier this year that it will no longer operate sports betting in the country.

According to the company’s announcement, this move will help offset its losses. Mr Green has informed its British customers and fans that the sportsbook will close down on September 8. Access will be available for players tomorrow from September 6 to 8. During this period, they can check the bets that have been placed.

However, they will not be able to place new wagers. The operator has also informed the players that unresolved bets will not be canceled. All the bets that are due for settlement will be honored after the closure of the sportsbook. The accumulated winnings will be sent to the accounts of players automatically.

They will not face any restrictions while making the withdrawals. Players can get in touch with the customer support team through live chat in case they have any queries. The operator has also announced that its Ireland sportsbook will continue its operations as usual. The closure will only affect players in the United Kingdom. And of course, players can still enjoy the excellent Mr Green online casino.

The trouble had started brewing much earlier

Over the past few years, Mr Green has been facing legal troubles in several countries. For many fans of the sportsbook, this is something unbelievable. Enda Gaffney, the Head of Sportsbook at Mr Green, was interviewed by SBC in 2018. “This week has been a tremendous week for Mr Green. We just launched our Green Gaming Tool and also we’ve launched Sportsbook 2.0,” Gaffney had said in the interview.

William Hill had acquired Mr Green for £242 million in 2019. Soon afterwards, the German side of its operations had to close down owing to ‘compliance issues’. Another news doing the rounds was about the fine levied on the operator by the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit.

The operator was found guilty of offering its products in the Netherlands without a license. Mr Green tried to appeal Kansspelautoriteit’s fine and the case reached the court. However, the judges ruled in Kansspelautoriteit’s favor. Mr Green has also been fined in Sweden over the past few years.

The £3 million penalty

The UK’s Gambling Commission ordered Mr Green to pay a penalty of £3 million on February 27, 2020. An additional payment of £10,349.77 was also levied on the operator towards investigative costs. The Gambling Commission had been keeping a watch on Mr Green Limited for a while.

It found systematic failures of the operator in implementing Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Social Responsibility (SR) policies. The company lacked effective processes to keep a check on its customers’ gambling activities.

One of them had won £50,000 and had deposited more after gambling away the entire amount. The company failed to freeze the customer’s account. “We will continue to crack down on operators who fail in this area,” said the executive director of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson.

New UK Gambling Commission Rules

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020, online gambling witnessed a boom in the UK. This was mainly because of the lack of access to entertainment venues and land-based gambling establishments. According to a May 2020 BBC report, the searches for online casinos during lockdown had reached an all-time high.

Once the lockdowns came to an end, people were back to their brick-and-mortar casinos. As a result, some of the online gaming companies suffered massive losses in 2021. They included the gaming and entertainment provider, Flutter. The new wave of regulations from the UK government made things even worse for the online gaming companies.

The new rules from the UK Gambling Commission will be going into effect on September 12, 2022. Several restrictions will be put in place for the operators. Some popular online casinos such as WinTrillions were forced to cease their operations in the country as a result.

Just like Mr Green, Entain Group was fined for its AML and SR failures. In this case the amount of fine was £17 million. The information in this regard was put up on the UK Gambling Commission’s website on August 17, 2022. A few days ago, the website had also informed about a financial penalty of £630,000 on Smarkets (Malta) Limited.

What have been their SR and AML failures?

Operators in the UK need to be aware that the country’s Gambling Commission constantly monitors them. If such failures continue to occur in the future, the casino operators may lose their license. One of their serious SR failures is not interacting with at-risk customers.

They must interact with customers in a way that minimizes the potential risk of harms from gambling. Another major SR failure is not restricting customers who fail to provide their source of funds. Other failures include not escalating cases of customers staking more amounts after losing a significant sum.

AML failures are mostly associated with suspicious financial transactions. Some operators don’t conduct an adequate assessment of risks involving large financial transactions. They allow customers of their online casino to deposit huge amounts without tracking their source of funds. There’s always a probability of such large amounts being used for terrorist financing or money laundering.

They must also conduct enhanced due diligence checks on their customers. Some operators fail to scrutinize or monitor customers who stake large sums of money. They make the mistake of relying too much on open-source searches to know their customers’ source of funds.

What the future holds for the casino operators

Online gambling in the UK has seen the best times in the past two years owing to the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, the casino operators in the country need to pay some serious attention to the government regulations. They might need to bring about significant changes in their methods of assessing their customers’ risk.

At the same time they must also be careful not to make their customers feel offended. As long as they play by the rules, the casino operators in the UK have nothing to fear.

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