GC warns licensees about transparency following MaxEnt case

28 January 2020

The Gambling Commission of Great Britain has urged licensees to learn lessons from the revocation of MaxEnt’s operating licence, namely that they must be fully transparent in disclosing the source of funds used to acquire or invest in gambling businesses.

Slotty Vegas operator MaxEnt had its licence revoked in June last year, following previous operator and licensee NRR Entertainment’s acquisition. It has consistently disputed the Commission's version of events since the decision was announced.

The Commission explained that it took its decision after MaxEnt's application for a continuation of NRR Entertainment's licence after the change in corporate control revealed a previous, undisclosed change of ownership. This alone could have led to the licence being revoked, the regulator noted.

However, the key factor in the revocation was the fact that the Commission was unsatisfied with the source of funds used to finance the business. This referred to both the previously undisclosed change of corporate control, and MaxEnt’s acquisition of NRR Entertainment.

“Commission officials were concerned that the funds used posed a risk to the licensing objectives, notably, preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime,” the regulator explained.

The Gambling Commission said that it was satisfied that the business had adequate resources to continue as a going concern. However, it added, it was unclear where the funds to acquire and support the business at the time of the changes in corporate control had come from.

Furthermore, a key employee failed to highlight that it previously owned and managed another casino in a declaration to another gambling regulator, with this information also omitted from submissions to the Gambling Commission.

MaxEnt also produced new material shortly before its licence hearing, including previously undisclosed information, which in turn required it to provide additional information to the regulator. After this was provided, the operator still had not provided evidence of the source of its funding.

“This meant that neither the Licensee nor the applicant had a proper appreciation for the need to be full and frank with the Commission, nor for what the Commission requires to process an application of this kind,” the Commission said.

This ultimately led to its licence being revoked. MaxEnt, however, has disputed the Gambling Commission’s take on events, and originally pledged to fight to resume operations in the market.

It ultimately decided to scrap its appeal following the Conservative Party’s victory in December’s General Election. It said that the pro-Brexit party’s victory, which all but confirmed the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, meant that it was no longer worthwhile for it to operate there.

MaxEnt has since shifted its focus to European markets with the launch of a new brand, GoSlotty Casino. Featuring Trustly’s rapid onboarding solution Pay N Play, GoSlotty went live earlier this week.

“Players want as quick and fair an experience as possible and this aligns perfectly with our company vision,” chief executive Greg Bennett commented. “By partnering with Trustly, we give players a respected brand which caters directly to these desires.

“It’s a high-quality casino which sets itself apart from the competition, focused on speed and fairness, with a familiar face.”