The Nordic online gambling company Betsson AB has confirmed that it is pulling nine of its brands out of the United Kingdom, including RaceBets. The decision has come to streamline the company’s brand strategy, which sees RaceBets bite the dust alongside other UK-facing brands. The closing down of RaceBets will take place immediately, with emails being sent to customers confirming what will happen next.
The interesting thing is that RaceBets International Gaming Limited will continue to trade in other locations, with only the company’s British site being shut down at the moment. The key thing as far as the company’s current customers are concerned is that their funds are safe and can be withdrawn, whilst unsettled bets will play out as standard. Any bonuses remaining will be paid to customers as cash, too.
What Is Happening To RaceBets
The UK-facing site for RaceBets International Gaming Limited is closing down. As a result, customers that have accounts with the site will need to withdraw any remaining funds and no new deposits will be accepted. Any bonuses that are sitting in an account and unused will be paid out as cash, with all funds paid into customer accounts where possible. Accounts will still be accessible for the purpose of withdrawing funds until 23:59 on November 18th 2020.
Should the deadline to login and withdraw funds pass without customers having withdrawn their funds, there will be the ability to contact RaceBets Customer Care until the 31st of December 2020. RaceBets will make attempts to contact customers who have funds that need to be withdrawn, using registered emails and phone numbers to do so. Should customers fail to claim funds by the end of the 31st of December 2020, all remaining funds will be donated to GambleAware.
If a bet was placed that will not be settled until after the 21st of October then you’re in luck: RaceBets will pay out all bets as if they were winners. Sadly you won’t be able to login to your account and place a wager on the biggest odds that you can find in order to be paid out in full! If you did place a bet in good faith, though, then you’ll see your account boosted by the amount that you stood to win on that wager.
Why Is It Closing?
The decision to close RaceBets has come about because of a desire from Betsson to consolidate its presence in the UK market. Betsson’s services in the United Kingdom only account for about 3% of the overall group’s revenue. Given the increased compliance that has been put in place by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, it has been decided that the return is not worth the necessary investment in ‘technology, regulatory compliance and marketing’.
Instead of having numerous different brands across a variety of licences, Betsson has decided that it will look to streamline UK operations as much as possible. The company believes that the new strategy in the United Kingdom will ‘increase efficiency and have a positive impact on the contribution from its UK business. It will also enable resources to be reallocated for profitable growth in other markets.’
RaceBets Isn’t The Only Betsson Brand That’s Closing
RaceBets isn’t the only UK-facing brand that comes under the Betsson umbrella and is being closed down by the company. The following will also cease operations in the United Kingdom with immediate effect:
- Casino Euro
- Live Roulette
Betsson will keep one brand open in the United Kingdom, handing back three of the four licenses that the company was issued by the UKGC. The brand that will still be available to UK-based punters is Rizk, which Betsson bought from Gaming International Group earlier in the year. That one of the three licences being given up by Betsson was up for review by the Gambling Commission anyway might have forced Betsson’s hand on the matter.
The Nordic company had gained a wealth of UK brands when it bought NetPlay back in 2017, with the then-Chief Executive Officer, Ulrik Bengtsson, being the driving force behind the deal. The various brands failed to produce the return it was first hoped for, however, and Betsson began the process of reducing its market spend back in 2018. Indeed, some of the brands bought from NetPlay were moved over to Malta as a result of the poor performances.
What’s Next for Betsson?
Whilst the company’s UK-facing brands are being shut down, it’s likely that Betsson brands in other countries will see a boost because of it. The online gambling operator recently signed an extension to its partnership with Italian football club AC Milan, for example. StarCasino had long been associated with the club, but in the summer the marketing partnership was extended for another three years.
Given that it is only RaceBets in the UK that is being closed and the brand will continue to operate elsewhere in Europe, it’s fair to suggest that Betsson simply don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of meeting the United Kingdom Gambling Commission’s compliance regulations for relatively little return. Pontus Lindwall, the company’s current Chief Executive Officer, will doubtless outline further plans when the Q3 financial report is released.
What remains to be seen is whether Betsson will monitor the progress of Rizk in the coming years and make a return to the UK market if it is deemed to be viable enough to do so. The majority of gambling companies with interests in Britain will be intrigued to see what, if any, effect the country’s exit from the European Union has on the sector in the near future. If it’s as disastrous as some predict, Betsson may just be the first domino to fall.