After a years-long pattern of slapping hefty fines on errant online gambling companies, the UK Gambling Commission has toughened its approach toward those breaching the UK’s gambling rules and regulations and has now begun suspending licenses held by such violators.
The regulator announced this week that it has instigated a review into online gambling operator Stakers under Section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 and has suspended the Malta-based company’s license in the UK.
The Gambling Commission further explained that its decision was prompted by a “number of compliance issues.” Stakers’ license suspension took effect on March 4 and will remain in effect throughout the regulator’s review into the operators activities in the UK.
Stakers, which is also licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, conducts online casino and sports betting activities.
Its license suspension in the UK makes it illegal to provide services to local gambling customers through its stakers.com website. The Gambling Commission has instructed the company to facilitate its players accessing their accounts to withdraw their funds and to advise them not to place any wagers through the Stakers website.
News about the suspension of Stakers’ license arrived a few weeks after UK’s gambling regulator suspended the license of Addison Global Limited, which traded as MoPlay. The troubled sports betting operator stopped processing customers’ withdrawals just a few days after its license suspension and announced that it was insolvent.
Why Was Stakers’ License Suspended?
While no information on what Stakers’ violations were was provided, the Gambling Commission said that the review into the operator’s license was initiated under Section 116 of the Gambling Act.
The regulator also noted that it suspected Stakers had breached a condition of its license (Section 116 (2)(a) of the Act which made it unsuitable to carry on licensed activities on the territory of the UK.
Under Section 116 of the Gambling Act, the nation’s gambling watchdog can instigate a review into a UK-licensed operator if there is a reason to “suspect that activities may have been carried on in purported reliance on the licence but not in accordance with a condition of the licence.”
Section 116 goes on that a review can also be launched if the Gambling Commission:
(b) believes the licensee, or a person who exercises a function in connection with or is interested in the licensed activities, has acquired a conviction of a kind [..], or
(c) for any reason –
(i) suspects that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities, or
(ii) thinks that a review would be appropriate.
News about the suspension of Stakers’ license emerged just days after another gambling operator was penalized by the Gambling Commission.
The regulator slapped late last month a £3 million penalty package on Mr Green over shortcomings in the operator’s social responsibility and anti-money laundering controls. Mr Green was purchased by William Hill last year in a £242 million deal.