Gambling operator Stakers has surrendered its UK operating licenses after an appeal against the suspension of its license by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was dismissed.
The UKGC suspended Stakers’ operating license in March 2020 when it launched a review into the firm under sections 116 and 118 of the Gambling Act 2005 after reportedly discovering a series of failings. At the time, it advised Stakers to ban customers from making deposits and to aid them in withdrawing funds.
Stakers initially decided to appeal the suspension but has now announced it’s surrendering its license and withdrawing from the UK market after a First-Tier Tribunal dismissed its appeal last month.
Richard Williams, a solicitor representing Stakers, issued a statement this week confirming that the company decided that it would “prefer to cease operating in Great Britain rather than pay a financial penalty”.
According to Casino Guardian, the First-Tier Tribunal rejected Stakers’ original application to pause its suspension, and by the time the firm’s appeal was heard, its businesses was “effectively non-existent”.
Stakers’ appeal covered several regulatory issues, including whether it could be compelled to participate in compliance assessments via Skype, whether participants should be cautioned under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) ahead of recorded compliance assessments.
What’s more, it reportedly took the Tribunal twelve months from Stakers’ initial suspension and six months from the final hearing to announce its decision on the case.
Williams added: “Operators whose license has been suspended, even when they do not agree with the Commission about alleged regulatory failings, will understand that appealing a suspension to the First-Tier Tribunal may not be a viable option if they want to keep their business open.”
The news comes after the UK Gambling Commission suspended Nektan (Gibraltar) Limited’s gambling license. In an announcement earlier this month, the Commission said it believed that Nektan had breached the conditions of its operating license.
While some gambling operators have lost their license, Relax Gaming’s Gibraltar company was this week approved by the UK Gambling Commission.
With its approval, Relax Gaming Gibraltar Limited can now offer its catalogue of casino games to UK gambling operators, and the company has already transferred its Boylesports, BetVictor, and 32Red partners to its Gibraltar network.
According to Gambling Insider, the approval will allow Relax Gaming to expand its presence across the UK and worldwide, following the firm’s approval from the Malta Gaming Authority, the Romanian National Gaming Office, and the Gibraltar licensing authority.
Tommi Maijala, the CEO at Relax Gaming, said in a statement: “Following a fruitful relationship with the Gambling Commission through our Malta-based company, having all our products and services approved for our Gibraltar branch is another major commercial highlight for us.
“Its significance will be felt across the business, including by our valued third-party partners. This license acquisition represents a fresh opportunity in our drive to deliver excellence and growth across all regulated markets.”
With the UK approval, Relax Gaming Gibraltar Limited now supports the UK, Romania, Malta, Gibraltar, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and Sweden too.
Also this week, the UK National Lottery has announced a partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), which sees the operator become an official partner of the competition.
The National Lottery will also act as a partner for the RLWC2021 CreatedBy capital grants programme, a social impact initiative helmed by Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to improve environments where rugby is played.
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place between October 23rd and November 27th, and the new deal provides the National Lottery with extensive rights, including branding at the competition’s 61 matches, social media assets, unique player experiences, and becoming the main sponsor of the tournament’s volunteer workforce.
Rugby League World Cup 2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton said in a statement to Gaming Intelligence: “This is another significant moment for our trailblazing tournament. Local communities have faced significant challenges during the pandemic, so the opportunity to deliver good news and look to the horizon is uplifting.
“The ability to make a difference to people’s lives as well as supporting the future of grassroots Rugby League has always remained our mission, and this partnership further enhances our promise to put people, place and civic pride at the very heart of the event.”
He added: “We thank The National Lottery and look forward to working with them on the journey to the biggest and best ever Rugby League World Cup later this year.”
Nigel Railton, the CEO of National Lottery operator Camelot, said: “Every day, the National Lottery and its players make a huge difference to communities across the UK – and have been doing so since 1994.
“Sports, such as Rugby League, which have such a connection to the local community, make a huge difference to individuals and society as a whole.”
He continued: “I am proud that the National Lottery is able to play such a key role in supporting the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the wider community after such a tough year – while, at the same time, being able to give back to National Lottery players who make all of this possible.”
UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “We are delighted to be hosting the world’s premier international Rugby League tournament, which will provide much excitement and entertainment as we recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The National Lottery delivers for so many good causes around the country, so I welcome their involvement as major sponsors. This partnership will provide significant long-term support to the sport include infrastructure and equipment for Rugby League loving communities up and down the country.”