Stakers gives up UK operating licence

Stakers has given up its UK operator licence after an appeal against its suspension was dismissed. 

The operator was originally investigated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in March 2020, during which its licence was temporarily suspended. 

After a suspension appeal was dismissed last month, the operator has chosen to exit the British market. 

Why was Stakers investigated? 

The UKGC was allowed to perform its review on the basis of Section 116 (2) (a) of the 2005 Gambling Act. If the Commission “has 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”, it’s allowed to review a licensee. 

Areas of non-compliance that the UKGC was investigating Stakers for were not disclosed. 

For the duration of the investigation, the UKGC said that it felt suspending the operator’s licence was necessary. This became effective on 4th March last year. The company’s sites stopped accepting UK players at that time, though existing customers were able to withdraw from their accounts. 

Exiting the UK market

Stakers’ suspension appeal covered various compliance aspects. These included whether or not it could take part in compliance assessments on Skype. 

The operator, according to Joelson solicitor Richard Williams – who represented the company during the process – “took an early decision that it would prefer to cease operating in Great Britain rather than pay a financial penalty.”

The First Tier Tribunal, according to Williams, had said no to Shakers’ first appeal application. As such, the company’s time in the UK was all-but over when the verdict to dismiss its appeal was heard.

Williams also said:

“Operators whose licence has been suspended, even where 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.”

According to the solicitor, the Tribunal took 12 months from its first suspension to share its decision – as well as six months from the final hearing.

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