A UK-licensed gambling operator has taken the decision to leave the market after a review of its business during the coronavirus pandemic against a background of additional regulatory action from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The news follows the imposition of a fine of SEK400,000 by the Swedish regulator on the firm for accepting wagers on underage football events.
Bethard Group has officially confirmed that as of July, it will no longer operate in the UK online gambling market. The Malta-based firm has informed its UK customers that the well-known flagship Bethard brand would not be accepting any transactions or wagers from July 6. Although the site will not be taking bets from that date, they have stated that all UK customers will have until August 10 to withdraw any funds and to clear their player accounts.
Giving its reasons for the departure, Bethard confirmed that the decision was the result of an internal strategic review, undertaken during the coronavirus lockdown in which the firm’s management came to the decision that they should focus on what they described as ‘profitable markets’.
Bethard earned its UKGC licence in 2018, as part of their expansion into multiple markets. Having established themselves in the Swedish market, the firm was hoping to target growth in the strong UK, and Ireland markets, as well as Denmark. But circumstances have conspired to lead to their departure just two years after launching their betting platform for UK customers.
In a statement announcing the decision, Bethard did not disclose any specific detail surrounding the decision to leave the UK market, beyond saying they had considered their market options.
But speculation is likely to focus on the regulatory, compliance and tax changes that were introduced during the 2019-20 period. A number of other firms, including 188BET, Betclic Everest, ComeOn and Royal Panda have also left the UK market during that time.
Bethard say that they will continue to maintain a presence in all the other established markets, utilising licenses for Denmark, Malta, Ireland, Spain and Sweden.