MoPlay Has UK and Gibraltar Licences Suspended

The gambling operator Moplay has had its licences suspended in both the United Kingdom and in Gibraltar. The Gambling Commission has chosen to instigate a review of Addison Global Limited, of which Moplay is the trading name. At the same time, the Gambling Licensing Authority of Gibraltar has also decided to the suspend the company’s licence there.

The reason for the suspension as far as the GLA in Gibraltar is concerned is that the company has failed to provide a suitable solution to solvency issues that it is current having. The UKGC, meanwhile, has stated that it is looking into Addison Global Limited after it ‘breached a condition of the licence’ and ‘unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities’.

Update 24/02/20: MoPlay Declare Insolvency

Following from the issues stated above, on Monday 24th February MoPlay declared themselves insolvent and thus unable to process customer withdrawals at the current time in addition to halting the acceptance of any further bets.

Update 03/03/20: MoPlay Player Base to be Sold

Reports on Tuesday 3rd March suggest that MoPlay parent group Addison Global has fallen into liquidation and as a result their customer base could be sold on. What this means for existing players will be dependent on the purchaser and the conditions of sale.

Update 16/03/20: Betfred Purchase UK Customer Base

Following Addison Global’s liquidation, it has been reported on the 16th March that Betfred will purchase MoPlay’s UK and Irish customer database. It is thought they had won an auction with a number of competing firms to do so. These customers should have access to their funds once registered with the new operator.

What The UKGC Have Said

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The United Kingdom Gambling Commission released a statement on its website on the twentieth of February saying that it has decided to commence a review of Addison Global. It cited section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 as the justification for the review, with section 118 giving them the ability to suspend the company’s Operating Licence.

Addison Global Limited, which operates under the name of Moplay, has a Combined Remote Operating Licence – Real Event and Virtual Betting Casino. The licence has been suspended whilst the UKGC carries out its review. It is felt that the immediate suspension of the licence is ‘appropriate…pending the conclusion of the review’.

The suspension of the licence means that it is illegal for Addison Global Limited to offer any sort of gambling services to customers via the company’s website. The only thing the suspension doesn’t stop Moplay from doing is returning funds to customers if they have an outstanding balance. Any bets that were in play before the suspension may also be settled.

Why The GLA Has Suspended The Licence

Gibraltar View

It’s obviously no coincidence that the Gambling Licensing Authority in Gibraltar has decided to suspend Addison Global Limited’s licence at the same time as their British compatriots have done so. A press statement released by the government said that the licence suspension has come about in the wake of advice from Andrew Lyman, Gibraltar’s Gambling Commissioner.

Lyman had been working with Addison Global Limited executives in order to find ‘restructuring proposals’ that would see the business supported and allowed to develop further. The problem is that the proposals, which had included the honouring of outstanding liabilities, ‘have not materialised’, giving the Gambling Commissioner major concerns.

In a statement it was said that the ‘Gambling Commissioner is no longer able to accept that the firm is able to meet its licensing conditions’. That seems likely to be the main reason behind the licensing suspension. The statement concluded, “a decision has been made to suspend the relevant licences to protect consumers from any further detriment”.

Who Are Addison Global Limited?

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Formed in 2017 by Juergen Reutter, who was previously the innovation lead of William Hill, Addison Global Limited was intended to be a challenger company that would take the fight to more traditional bookmakers. It was sold as being a mobile-first brand that would compete strongly against the top-tier betting incumbents.

When it was first licensed by the Gambling Licensing Authority of Gibraltar it was done on the understanding that it would receive solid financial support from shareholders. Regrettably that support was not forthcoming, with the government saying, “It is most disappointing that the promised financial support from the shareholder has failed to materialise”.

Manchester United sued Moplay last year

You might remember that English footballing giant Manchester United filed a complaint in federal court against Select Management Resources, who had guaranteed payments to the Red Devils for sponsorship by Moplay. The Premier League club alleged that Addison Global Limited defaulted on payments twice in 2019, worth in excess of £1.9 million.

There is no suggestion that the incident is linked to the defaulting of payments to Manchester United, yet at the same time there is likely to be a link. The Gibraltar Gambling Licensing Authority specifically references an inability to ‘honour outstanding liabilities’, which is very much the experience that the Red Devils had after agreeing a sponsorship deal with Moplay.

The 2005 Gambling Act Sections 116 & 118

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission made reference to specific sections of the 2005 Gambling Act, citing section 116 and section 118 specifically. Section 116 states:

  • The Commission may in relation to operating licences of a particular description review—
  • (a)the manner in which licensees carry on licensed activities, and
  • (b)in particular, arrangements made by licensees to ensure compliance with conditions attached under section 75, 77 or 78

There are other parts of the same section that are also relevant, particularly the notion that the Commission may instigate a review if it ‘suspects that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities’. That appears to be the reasoning behind the licensing review on this occasion.

Section 118, meanwhile, says, “The Commission may suspend an operating licence if following a review under section 116(1) or (2) the Commission thinks that any of the conditions specified in section 120(1) applies”. Obviously that makes things slightly more complicated because section 120(1) comes into play in this instance.

Section 120 refers specifically to the ‘conditions for suspension or revocation’, with part 1 offering the following explanation:

  • (a)that a licensed activity is being or has been carried on in a manner which is inconsistent with the licensing objectives
  • (b)that a condition of the licence has been breached
  • (c)that the licensee has failed to cooperate with a review under section 116(1) or (2), or
  • (d)that the licensee is unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities