BetBright Discontinues Their Services | Causes and Consequences
Since March 5 punters across the United Kingdom have been shocked by BetBright’s announcement that the company’s sports betting platform is going to be sold to 888 Holdings and the brand will cease to exist. Moreover, the lack of a firm and unyielding response from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has further increased the confusion.
In order to better interpret the recent developments concerning the major online betting company BetBright, one should first take a step back and evaluate the events that led to the current state of affairs. Starting from the very beginning, BetBright was founded on Wednesday, March 28, 2013, by Richard Brennan, Marcus Brennan and Tadhg O’Toole. They didn’t go down the usual path of outsourcing an already developed product, but instead, put in the work and came up with their own online betting platform. As it turned out, their in-house built platform proved to be extremely successful, receiving multiple awards in the following years. In 2016 they won the EGR’s Best In-House Product and the Sports Betting Community’s Best Football Betting Product.
Furthermore, in 2018 they received the eGaming Review’s award in the Innovation In Sports Betting category. All the recognition speaks for the success that BetBright have had ever since the company was first set up. Their online betting platform has established itself as one of the best in the whole of the United Kingdom and has built them a reputation of a secure and trustworthy bookmaker. All these factors made 888’s acquisition of BetBright such an unexpected and controversial occurrence. A public statement by Itai Pazner, the CEO of 888 Holdings, has shed some light on the reasoning behind the acquisition of BetBright by 888.
The acquisition of a high-quality and scalable sportsbook is an exciting milestone for 888. It gives the Group the missing piece in our proprietary product and technology portfolio and will enable 888 to own proprietary, end-to-end solutions across the four major online gaming verticals – Itai Pazner, CEO of 888 Holdings
The fact that BetBright is the third acquisition that 888 have made in the past three months, speaks clearly about the company’s mission of becoming the dominant provider of online gambling services. Not only will 888 obtain a world-class sports betting platform, but they will also clear away one of their major competitors. And such settlements are not at all unheard of. Major Companies in all sectors are constantly changing ownership and that’s perfectly normal. What’s not normal, however, is the way in which BetBright took care of their own clientele and outstanding liabilities. According to the agreement, 888 have only taken possession of the Dedsert Limited part of BetBright which is the company’s technical division and is responsible for the functioning of their online betting platform. Kelfast Limited, however, will not continue to operate which means that the BetBright brand will no longer exist. Subsequently, BetBright have released a blog post on their website, announcing that as of 11:59 pm on March 5, 2019, all ante-post bets will be voided. Understandably this has caused a huge wave of outrage not only amongst BetBright’s customer base but across the whole UK betting community.
The consequences of the closing
First of all, these decisions will affect thousands of people, who have placed bets weeks and even months in advance, hoping for better odds. Single-event bets like Cheltenham Festival, which is just around the corner and next month’s Grand National as well as season-long stakes for the outcome of the Championship and Premier League will all be cancelled. And while those who’ve made losing bets will be delighted to see their money back, there are many whose big wins will not be paid. One such example has even made its way on to the pages of The Guardian. The newspaper has told the story of a man who is missing out on a possible payout of £26,000 for two bets with a total value of £400. Putting all this into perspective suggests that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds that punters aren’t going to receive.
The other serious issue with this whole malarkey is the fact that a major player in the betting industry could simply close up shop and run away from any accountability. Such an event is surely going to send shockwaves across the whole gambling community and might even result in a strong notion of distrust and lack of confidence in bookies in the UK and beyond. Rich Ricci – CEO of BetBright has tried to justify the company’s actions by referring to the whole case as a “situation which isn’t ideal, where the company doesn’t have the engine to carry on and needs to be wound up in an orderly way”.
Whatever the case, BetBright have not gone bankrupt and the current state of affairs is a direct consequence of the company executive’s conduct of business and they should not be allowed to run away from responsibility. Furthermore, this whole case has exposed a large gap in the rules and regulations governing the gambling industry in Britain. One could only imagine what could happen if an incident of such magnitude is left unattended to. There will be nothing to prevent people from setting up a booking office and then walking away once the odds have turned against them. For the first three days, the only response from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has been that they’ve received numerous complaints and are currently looking into the situation. In the last hours of March 8, they have made another announcement, however suggestions of sanctions remain to be seen. As Chris Cook of The Guardian has put it – “BetBright disgrace is a test for the Gambling Commission”. In the meantime, the whole betting community has fixed its attention on the events and is anxiously waiting for the outcome.