The United Kingdom Gambling Commission isn’t just responsible for providing licences to applicants, but also for keeping control over which operators hold and adhere to those licences, too. Reports recently emerged that the certificate from the Commission that is held by FSB Technology is being reviewed, following questions being brought up about its white-label partner Blackbet.
The platform has suspended all of its UK-facing operations, including both an online casino and sportsbook, which it did voluntarily upon being reviewed. This marks the second of FSB’s white-label shut-downs, as 1xBet also suspended all UK gambling activities just two weeks ago.
Speaking of the review and subsequent suspension of all Blackbet gambling operations, the Gambling Commission said that queries could be directed to the operator directly. It went on to state that “due to regulatory concerns”, a review into FSB Technology under s116 of the Gambling Act is currently being carried out. It also mentioned that even though a suspension of Blackbet in the UK is in place for now, this won’t stop the brand from paying out to its customers.
As far as the section of the Act that is causing the problems for Blackbet goes, this dictates that the UK Gambling Commission has the power to review any sort of matter relating to an individual operator on the basis of any three grounds, which are:
• If the Commission is under the suspicion that the conditions of the licence are being breached.
• If the Commission believes that the licence holder or any connected persons, has been convicted of a relevant offence, either in Great Britain or abroad.
• If the Commission has suspicions over the licensee’s ability to perform licensed activities or believes that a review is appropriate.
Suspended for the Foreseeable Future
Section 116 of the Gambling Act does make it clear that the Commission has the ability to review those sites that it believes to be operating suspiciously. However, it also means that a review of a licence could take place solely because an operator has held their certificate for a long period of time. To add to that, the statement from the Gambling Commission said that if it does opt to carry out a review of a licensee, then procedural requirements also dictate that the licence holder takes part in the review, too.
Anyone attempting to access the Blackbet platform from the United Kingdom will now be greeted with the message that for regulatory purposes, it has taken the decision to suspend all of its gambling activities “for the foreseeable future”. The message continues with the operator apologising for any inconvenience that the suspension has caused.
However, the message does also bring a slight bit of positivity to players, reassuring them that withdrawals can still take place from their accounts. Additionally, should anyone have had any unsettled bets placed, those would have stood until 23:59 on Tuesday, 27th August. After that time, any unsettled bets were made completely void.
It was only in late 2017 that the Blackbet platform began operating, and even from its origins, the site caused quite the controversy. Prior to opening, a teaser campaign was in place with the website promising that it would offer what was described as “ethnic sports betting”. This description never was, and still hasn’t been clarified by the Blackbet brand in any way.
Other reports have also suggested that a third white-label partner of FSB, Quinnbet is subject to suspension, too. This, it is said, is due to the concerns that the Commission has over the platform’s source of funding.