Online operator Stakers has surrendered its Great Britain operating licence and ceased its operations in the jurisdiction after an appeal against the suspension of its licence was dismissed by a First Tier Tribunal last month.
The GB Gambling Commission opened a review of the business in March 2020 under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005, which sets out that the Commission can review any licensee if it meets certain criteria.
The operator’s licence was suspended while the review was carried out due to a number of unspecified compliance failings.
At the time, the regulator pointed to Section 116(2)(a) of the Act, which permits a review if the regulator “has reason to suspect that activities may have been carried on in purported reliance on the licence but not in accordance with a condition of the licence”.
According to a statement from Richard Williams, a solicitor at Joelson who represented Stakers, the operator “took an early decision that it would prefer to cease operating in Great Britain rather than pay a financial penalty.”
He said that as the Tribunal refused Stakers’ initial application to stay the suspension of its licence, by the time the appeal was heard the operator’s business in Great Britain was effectively extinguished.
The appeal covered a number of regulatory issues, including whether the operator could be compelled to participate in compliance assessments via Skype, and whether participants should be cautioned under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) prior to recorded compliance assessments.
Williams said the Tribunal took 6 months from the final hearing, and 12 months from the initial suspension to issue its decision.
“Operators whose licence has been suspended, even where they do not agree with the Commission about alleged regulatory failings, will understand that appealing a suspension to the First-tier Tribunal may not be a viable option if they want to keep their business open,” Williams concluded.