Gambling Commission suspends Matchbook operating licence

18 February 2020

The British Gambling Commission has taken the decision to temporarily suspend the operating licence of Triplebet - the parent company of exchange betting operator Matchbook - following a two-year review of the business.

In a statement on the Matchbook site, the operator said that it would be “briefly closed” for all betting and casino activity in the UK. However, it added, it would continue to settle all open positions, and customers would have access to their account to withdraw funds.

The Gambling Commission said it had taken the decision to suspend Matchbook’s pool betting, betting intermediary and remote casino licences under Section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005, which gives the regulator the power under certain conditions.

These conditions, set out in Section 118 (2) of the Act, state that permission to operate may be suspended if the Commission believes a licensed activity is being carried out in a manner inconsistent with licensing objectives.

It may also take action if it suspects a condition of an operator’s licence has been breached, or if the licensee has failed to cooperate with a review of its activities. Finally, a suspension may be implemented if the Commission believes the licensee is unsuitable to carry on operating in the market.

Triplebet said the decision came following a review by the Gambling Commission that ran for two years.

“Triplebet takes its responsibility as a betting and gaming operator very seriously, and accepts the GC panel’s findings following a two-year review,” a Triplebet spokesperson explained. “Triplebet believes that compliance goes to the heart of offering a betting exchange product, and through the introduction of new policies and the establishment of a Compliance Committee Triplebet has shown that it is committed to achieving any standard of compliance required of it."

The operator added that it believes its licence will be reinstated soon as it continues to implement higher compliance standards.

“Last year Triplebet engaged a third-party compliance specialist in order to elevate its standard of compliance beyond what is required by the GC. Over the coming weeks these recommendations will be completed in full, and an independent audit will be carried out with a view to the license being reinstated.”

iGamingBusiness.com understands that, after the Gambling Commission began its review of its practices, Triplebet engaged the services of performance improvement consultancy Alvarez and Marsal.

Alvarez and Marsal provided a number of recommendations, which the operator has since implemented.

However, Triplebet had not adopted all recommendations by the time of the licence hearing in late January, after deciding to implement them in phases. As a result, the licence was suspended.

The recommendations that Alavarez and Marsal offered included new policies for the fair treatment of customers, the establishment of a compliance committee, the establishment of a new responsible gambling algorithm and progress towards Gamcare’s Safer Gambling Standard certification.

Also included in the recommendations were anti-money-laundering and problem gambling training by GamCare for 30 key members of staff and for daily screening to recognise players that may be those subject to international sanctions and politically exposed people (PEPs). Triplebet did not disclose which recommendations put forward by the consultancy that were yet to be adopted, however.

A source close to the matter said they expected the matter to be resolved within weeks.