Mr Green fails in appeal over Swedish sanctions

| By Robert Fletcher
Sweden’s Administrative Court in Linköping has rejected an appeal from Mr Green over a decision by national regulator Spelinspektionen to sanction the operator over KYC, AML and responsible gambling failings.
Spiffbet to launch three new brands in May

William Hill-owned Mr Green was issued with two separate warnings and penalty fees totalling SEK31.5m (£2.5m/€3.0m/$3.1m) in August last year in relation to the case.

Spelinspektionen issued a SEK30m penalty relating to failures in its duty of care with regards to responsible gambling, and a further warning and SEK1.5m penalty for failures in its anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) responsibilities.

The regulator said Mr Green violated Sweden’s Money Laundering Act and also breached certain sections of the country’s Gambling Act. 

Mr Green appealed against the decision, but the Administrative Court upheld that the brand had a lack of routines regarding the risks of money laundering and also violated rules related to customer knowledge in the Money Laundering Act. The court also court ruled that Mr Green did not fulfil its duty of care obligations. 

As such, the court said that the two warnings issued by Spelinspektionen were a “sufficient measure”, while the penalty fees were considered to be “proportionate”.

The case against Mr Green started after Spelinspektionen received complaints about the operator in November 2019. The regulator launched review of its AML measures, looking at 15 customer accounts.

Several of the customers had been reported to the financial police by Mr Green, which Spelinspektionen said indicated that the operator had suspicions of money laundering relating to some of its registered accounts.

In one case, a customer made deposits totalling SEK39.3m. The player was found to have a declared income which barely covered the year’s losses

After the customer ceased playing with the operator, Mr Green did not to take any further action to investigate the possibility of money laundering.

A further five customers were audited in relation to the operator’s responsible gambling measures. The investigation found Mr Green had attempted to contact all five customers either by email or phone, in relation to increases in their gambling activity.

However, one customer was found to have made several deposits per day on various occasions and was reported to have lost more than their announced taxable income with the operator for several years.

Mr Green closed the customer’s account in July, 2020. Further accounts were closed by the operator in 2020 in relation to responsible gambling measures. 

However, Spelinspektionen ruled that sufficient contact had not been made with those customers with high deposit limits of over SEK10,000 to ensure they were gambling with their own funds and doing so responsibly.

A number of other customers lost amounts that were more than three times their annual income within a year, including one who lost six times their income.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter