The UKGC’s Final Verdict on the BetBright Controversy
Ten days after British bookies BetBright announced they are discontinuing their services and that all ante-post bets are going to be voided, the UKGC has finally come up with a verdict and it’s not what people have expected. Despite the commission’s conclusion, however, the 35,000 BetBright customers which have been affected are unlikely to simply accept their faith and carry on.
Ever since March 5 when BetBright announced that they were closing shop, there has been an unmitigated level of outrage amongst gamblers in the United Kingdom. There are two main reasons which have provoked the players’ fury. One has been the fact that the bookies are voiding all ante-post bets that were to settle beyond the date of their statement and the other is the surprisingly slow and indecisive reaction of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. If you’d like a more detailed account of the events, we advise you to take a look at our article on the closure of BetBright. Now, almost two weeks after the beginning of this crisis, the Gambling Commission have finally addressed the situation in a more detailed manner. To the surprise of everyone, instead of condemning the company’s actions and enforcing legal measures to protect the punters, the UKGC are content with the turn of events. Apparently, according to their statement, Betbright faced the serious danger of going into a financial liquidation if they had continued to operate. This, in turn, would have resulted in punters not only being denied their possible winnings, but also getting no refunds on the bets they have placed. In this order of thoughts, it seems as BetBright’s decision to sell their technology to 888 and use part of the money to refund voided bets really is the lesser evil.
Some questions left without an answer
Despite these new insights, however, two questions remain unanswered. First of all, why didn’t BetBright fully settle the ante-post bets that customers have placed, considering that the total amount due has been estimated as only 1/15 of the prince which 888 have paid for Dedsert Ltd. – the part of the business responsible for the sports betting platform? Sure, shareholders would prefer to secure a good deal for themselves before going bust, however, shouldn’t there be legal obligations for parties that offer a paid service and then walk away, without fulfilling their agreement? And while in most circumstances refunds are a reasonable enough response, this is not one of them. In the case of sports betting, punters place bets months in advance in order to secure better odds. Even if given their money back, gamblers will not be done justice, as such good odds are now no longer available. Furthermore, complex bets for the outcome of multiple events also make up a big chunk of the potential payouts that BetBright are voiding. As we mentioned in our previous article, there are examples of single punters who are being refused five-figure payouts.
This brings us to the second question. If the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is responsible to supervise and regulate that bookies are complying with the UK’s Gaming laws but is unable to insist that an operator stays in business until all the results of ante-post bets have come in, then there might be a serious loophole in the UK laws regarding gambling and sports betting. Enraged by the way in which the whole situation has been handled, the abovementioned punter is expected to file a legal case against Dedsert Limited. Considering the large number of people who have been affected we won’t be surprised to see other victims of this scandal join the quest for justice. We are yet to see if and how these developments are going to affect the UKGS and the UK gaming laws and if any major changes are going to take place. Whatever happens next you can rest assured that we are going to keep you posted and inform you of any further developments.