Bet-at-home has been dealt a bad hand one too many times in recent years. The company left Austria, and now having lost its UK gaming license, refuses to fight back for it.
Bet-At-Home’s UK Exit Immediate, Users Taken Care Of
Just days after bet-at-home had its license suspended in the UK, the company announced it would be permanently leaving the UK market. This happened in the face of an upcoming review process that could have seen bet-at-home’s license restored, thus allowing the company to continue operations. However, customers of the platform haven’t been able to place bets since July 6, the license was suspended on July 7, and now a statement from the company website reads “Unfortunately, we’ve decided to surrender our operating license granted by the UK Gambling Commission and to exit the British market.”
The pending review was going to be conducted under section 116 of the 2005 Gambling Act, while the license was suspended according to section 118 (2) of the Gambling Act. With the company’s “surrender” of its license, this review will be aborted and all that’s left is to leave the market. Suspending its GB Affiliate program, which was the only marketing channel for bet-at-home in the UK, further indicates the exit is definitely happening quickly.
As per bet-at-home’s statements regarding the UK exit, players will be able to withdraw the money from their accounts until September 30, 10 pm. If a player wishes to withdraw after this date, there will be an option to contact bet-at-home and request a refund directly that way. This option will be available until June 30, 2023. New registrations to the site have also been disabled, so bet-at-home will only have to deal with the customer it has had before the license suspension.
Bet-at-home’s license was suspended after the UK Gaming Commission (UKGC) started suspecting failings in social responsibility and anti-money laundering. The company’s refusal to through a regulatory review to get its license back doesn’t bode well for it, and certainly doesn’t do much in the way of disproving or denying the alleged failings.
Bet-at-home Faces Operational Challenges in Past Year
This is not the first bad news for the gaming operator. Just in May, the company had a tough announcement to make, seeing its Q1 revenue drop around 50% to $15.0 million (£11.9 million/€14 million) amid more regulatory difficulties across multiple European countries, with Germany and Netherlands being the most prominent names.
However, these issues are a bit more temporary in nature, as the problem in the Netherlands was rooted in the need to apply for a license under the new Dutch enforcement policies, in order to be able to return to the market, pending approval of the said license, of course. In Germany, the story was similar – operators were mandated to follow the country’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, stating a limit of €1 for slots stakes. The reason for dropping revenue was that few non-compliant operators were facing regulatory actions, making easy profits before that changes. And Germany isn’t known for dragging its feet when rules aren’t followed.
The story in Austria is not the same, though. It’s much more similar to the UK situation, but in some ways – worse as well. With Casinos Austria being the only legally licensed gaming operator, bet-at-home was betting on a favorable court decision, while also not harboring any illusions of continuing operations, hence it left the Austrian market as a whole. Bet-at-home laid off 65 people during the restructuring process of exiting the Austrian market.
Going further back doesn’t see things improve much, either. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the industry especially hard – canceling sporting events, financial instability, and more – bet-at-home’s financials were 11.4% down in its financial results for 2020 as well – €126.9 million vs €143.3 million in 2019. Hurdle after hurdle for the operator, it seems.