The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) recently suspended the license of online gaming operator Bet-at-home. However, instead of fighting it or trying to resolve its issues, the platform is throwing in the towel and is no longer active in the UK market.
Bet-at-home ran into trouble on July 7 when the UKGC formally accused it of not meeting social responsibility and anti-money-laundering (AML) requirements. The regulator told the platform to take a break as it investigated the failings and sought remedial solutions.
If everything had gone well, Bet-at-home would have eventually had an opportunity to return to its UK customers. Unfortunately, that won’t happen and, as of July 6, it turned off its gambling functions in the country.
Not Playing Ball
The UKGC routinely cracks down on operators that don’t play by the rules. However, in many cases, the companies take corrective action and return to the market. Now, with the changes coming to UK gambling, they may no longer feel like holding a license in the country is worth it.
Bet-at-home shut off all bets and deposits and is no longer accepting new registrations. In addition, it turned off its GB Affiliate service, the only affiliate program it operated in the country.
Registered users can still withdraw any funds they have in their accounts. The operator will keep the window open until 10 PM local time on September 30 before closing it. After that, any players who haven’t removed their funds will only be able to do so by contacting Bet-at-home directly. That window will remain open until June 30 of next year.
Should there be any funds remaining in player accounts as of July 1, 2023, users won’t be able to retrieve them. At that time, according to a company statement, Bet-at-home will deliver all the funds to GambleAware, one of the UK’s gambling harm charities.
Uncertain Times for UK Gamblers
The UK is in the process of updating its gambling laws. However, the timeframe took another detour recently with the sudden departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Gambling Minister Chris Philp and others. Ahead of their exit, Philp hinted that changes in the laws might hit the online segment more, which could be the reason some operators are now getting cold feet.
The release of the government’s white paper on gambling is uncertain. It said it expects to publish it in the coming weeks, but it has said that for the past several months. Before it does, however, the new gambling minister may want to have a look.
The UK has appointed Damian Collins to be Philp’s replacement. He is now the parliamentary under-secretary of state for online safety at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). He has direct control over the government’s efforts to introduce gambling reforms.
In addition to the arrival of Collins, how the search to replace Johnson plays out could impact the new laws. If the new prime minister decides to shake up the cabinet, more new faces will arrive. They may want to have input on how the UK enters the next phase of gambling in the country.
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