British Gambling Commission suspends Bet-at-home licence

Bet-at-home is suspected of social responsibility failings.
Bet-at-home is suspected of social responsibility failings.

The Gambling Commission has begun a review of the German operator’s UK operations.

UK.- The Gambling Commission has announced that it has suspended Bet-at-home’s British licence while it conducts an investigation into its operations. It said that it suspects the Dusseldorf-headquartered operator, which has offices in Gibraltar and Malta, may have breached social responsibility and anti-money laundering rules.

The regulator said it would investigate possible breaches of licence conditions established by the 2005 Gambling Act, noting that possible social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings were key considerations for the decision to suspend its licence. It said its review may conclude that Bet-at-home is “unsuitable to carry on licensed activities”.

Bet-at-home cannot accept new wagers but customers can access existing accounts to withdraw funds.

It said: “We have made it clear to the operator that during the course of the suspension, we expect it to focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them,” the Commission explained.

Bet-at-home has been struggling with the impact of Germany’s new gambling regulations and reported a drop in revenue of 54 per cent for the first quarter. In December, it  announced it was laying off 65 employees under a restructuring plan after deciding to withdraw its online casino offering from Austria due to legal issues. The company said the plan aimed to “adjust the group’s structure to lower revenues”.

Meanwhile, the company’s owner, Betclic Everest, has merged with TV producer Banijay to form FL Entertainment with the intention of going public. Monte-Carlo SBM International (SBM) has transferred its 47.3 per cent stake in Betclic Everest to the new media and betting conglomerate.

FL Entertainment will merge with the Euronext Amsterdam-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Pegasus Entrepreneurial Acquisition Company Europe. The combined business will specialise in pan-European sports betting via Betclic and television via Banijay.

The new business would have combined revenue of €3.5bn and an EBITDA of €61m. The company forecasts revenue of €3.8bn and EBITDA of €645m by the close of 2022. Betclic is expected to be the key growth driver. FL Entertainment said it expects its European online betting and gaming offerings to be lucrative.

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