Bet365: ‘We are not breaking Chinese laws’

15 December 2016

The world's largest igaming firm has told iGaming Business it is not operating illegally in China in response to accusations made against the company earlier this week by anonymous short seller Spotlight Research.

In a statement to iGaming Business, Bet365 said the note was “self-serving, misleading and inaccurate”, adding that as it does not have an operational base in China, it is not breaking any of the country’s laws related to gambling.

The note alleged that Bet365 is running a gambling website catering to Chinese customers and that this would likely be considered illegal and could be used to evade Chinese capital controls.

It also said that a big chunk of Bet365’s revenue is generated in China, where online gambling is illegal. Paysafe operates payment brands Neteller and Skrill, and alleged that Bet365 is the payments processer’s previously unidentified largest customer.

Spotlight, which has a short position on Paysafe, said recent Chinese court cases may link a recent former Paysafe executive, an alleged undisclosed related party, most likely Bet365, and by implication, Paysafe itself, together in an illegal gambling ring.

“Bet365 is a remote gambling operator that takes its legal and regulatory obligations very seriously,” the group said. “Bet365 is licensed to undertake its activities by relevant regulatory authorities across a variety of jurisdictions and is compliant with all applicable legislation.

“There is no legislation which expressly prohibits the supply of remote gambling services into China by operators who are based outside China.

“Bet365 has no people, assets or infrastructure in China and does not engage any agents, aggregators or intermediaries, for any purpose, in China.

“In the view of Bet365, and its lawyers, Chinese law does not extend to the provision of services into China by gambling operators and service providers who themselves have no nexus with the territory.

“Accordingly, Bet365 considers Spotlight Research’s analysis of the relevant legislation and statements surrounding the alleged illegality of the provision of remote gambling services into China remotely to be self-serving, misleading and inaccurate.”

LSE-listed Paysafe, formerly Optimal Payments, also denied any wrongdoing and suggested Spotlight Research “has disclosed a potential short interest benefiting from any weakness in Paysafe’s share price”.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Paysafe said: “Paysafe confirms that all material information in the report is either factually inaccurate or has been previously disclosed.

“The group has a history of significant, transparent disclosure to the market, publishing two prospectuses in 2015 and being subject to substantial additional scrutiny through a full UKLA listing process as part of its move to the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.”

Related article: Paysafe rejects allegations of illegal gambling