It’s a well-known fact in the gaming space that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) expects gaming operators to toe the line at all times and that it doesn’t allow much margin for error. The regulator has repeatedly cracked down on companies that it feels aren’t playing by the rules, issuing fines, suspending licenses, and even seeking criminal investigations against certain individuals. At this stage, operators that want to do business in the UK should know that understanding the regulatory framework completely is paramount to survivability, but sometimes, missteps still happen. That was the case for online gambling brand Stakers, which has lost an appeal, according to SBC News, to have its license reinstated, effectively ending the platform’s short run in the UK.
Stakers Likely to Give Up on the UK
The issue goes back to last year when Switzerland-based Stakers was found to have violated two sections of the UK’s Gambling Act 2005, according to the UKGC. In March 2020, the regulatory agency suspended Stakers’ gaming license, possibly indicating a major breach of protocol, instead of one that could have resulted in only a fine. Stakers was ordered to facilitate the withdrawal of funds by its users and to stop accepting any bets.
Stakers tried to appeal, but could never find support. A hearing has now been completed that effectively sealed the company’s fate in the UK and has “effectively extinguished” its future there. The UKGC never publicized the issues that led to the suspension of the license, only indicating that it had noticed a “number of compliance issues” and subsequently locked down Stakers in accordance with sections 116 and 118 of the Gambling Act 2005.
Stakers Can’t Make a Case
Stakers, in its appeal, ineffectively tried to question the breadth of the UKGC’s authority and enforcement. Specifically, it asked a judge to determine if the agency could compel operators to participate in assessments over Skype to determine whether or not they were in compliance. The judge sided with the UKGC and Stakers now has no further recourse to try to save its UK license.
According to Stakers, that won’t be an issue, as it was already done with the UK. It attempted to sidestep the failed appeal, with a company spokesperson asserting, “The UK license was one of the licenses we had and due to reasons outside of FTT appeal ruling, our operation ceased back in 2020. Stakers was a startup and the timing was against us both in [the] UK and the EU; we started in the middle of increased scrutiny of the regulators, and new licensing regimes were introduced on our key markets.”