Bethard to Leave the UK Market in Early July
June 18th, 2020 11.00am
Another piece of bad news for gamblers in the United Kingdom, as another operator announces its plans to leave the country’s market.
Bethard is the latest in line of online gambling operators to have decided to flee the UK market next month, as the existing regulatory regime has become more and more restrictive.
It’s Time to Say Goodbye
Earlier this week, the company started sending emails to their customers in the UK, informing them about the decision to leave the UK market, and alerting them the operator’s website will no longer be operational from July 6.
According to available information, Bethard players will be able to place their wagers up until the said date, after which all open bets will be closed. Players will have more than a month – until August 10 – to withdraw any funds that have remained on their accounts.
All new registrations from UK players ceased on July 16.
Based in Malta, Bethard entered the UK market two years ago, after receiving the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) license. Bethard originally got its UK license in 2017, but a legal dispute over using Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the company’s brand ambassador halted the operator’s launch. The FA doesn’t allow footballers that play in an English club to be used as brand ambassadors, and the Swedish icon was playing for Manchester United at that time.
At this moment, there is no information regarding the reasons for Bethard’s decision to withdraw from the UK market, the biggest regulated market in the world. Despite this fact, the country’s market has recently turned into a real regulative nightmare, as various bodies and groups – from the UKGC, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), politicians and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG) – trying to push their agenda through.
In addition to this, the ongoing health situation had a significant impact on Bethard’s sports betting operations. The company’s statement only says that the final decision was made after “a careful review of its strategic options” and that it wished to concentrate on “profitable markets”.
Tougher Times Ahead
Many believe the recent reports of the complete gambling industry overhaul suggested by the GRH APPG was the last straw. Although the group’s proposals were only recommendations, many of the operators believe the situation in the market is only going to get tougher.
The current regulations have created an inhospitable climate for operators, with many of them deciding to halt their services in the UK market. This has been a trend for more than a year, and it looks like it will continue in the coming period.
A number of operators already fled the UK market in 2019 and 2020, and unfortunately, this list is sure to expand before the year comes to an end. The list of brands that are no longer available to customers in the UK includes Royal Panda – owned by LeoVegas, 188Bet, Vera&John and InterCasinos – brands owned by Jackpotjoy, ComeOn, the Betclic Everest Group, MaxEnt and Viral Interactive.
Apart from the UK gaming license, Bethard currently holds licenses in several European markets, including Denmark, Malta, Spain, Ireland and Sweden. The operator has been recently hit with a penalty of around £35,000, issued by the country’s gambling watchdog for offering its clients to wager on underage football. It should be noted that the initial fine exceeded £200,000, but was later reduced by the Administrative Court after Bethard filed an appeal.
According to the information provided by Bethard, the operator will remain present in all other markets where it currently does business.
There is no information regarding the reasons for Bethard’s decision to withdraw from the UK market.