UKGC sheds light on BetBright abrupt closure

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued a statement on the closure and sale of former licensed incumbent BetBright.

On Wednesday 6 March, BetBright announced its closure, having sold its entire technology stack and assets to London-listed online gambling group 888 Holdings for £15 million.

In its statement of closure, BetBright confirmed that all player funds and winnings would be repaid, with the online bookmaker allowing customers 30-days access to clear accounts.

However, the bookmaker’s abrupt closure would garner criticism from its customers, as despite its £15 million sale, BetBright announced that it would treat all ante-post wagers as void.

Overseeing the closure of BetBright, the UKGC issued a statement confirming that the bookmaker had been in a “very real possibility of going into insolvent liquidation if it remained open”.

“This would have resulted in customers receiving no winnings and no refunds on stakes which had been placed,” it added. “This was a significant risk for BetBright’s customers and therefore we are content that the return of stakes, as part of an orderly closure of the business, is the best option available for the vast majority of customers in what is an unusual and difficult situation.”

On day one of the Cheltenham Festival,BetBright Chairman Rich Ricci – the former Chief Executive of Corporate Finance at Barclays Bank – detailed that it has been a “difficult week” for everyone involved with the betting enterprise.

“No one feels good about it,” he told ITV Racing. “It happens in business. People have lost their jobs. People have lost money. There is no profit gained by anyone else. It’s just a difficult situation and we’re just trying to do the best for everyone. We’ll see what happens.”

Founded in 2013, by the enterprise team of the Brennan brothers (Marcus & Richard) and Tadhg O’Toole, fast growth BetBright had been branded as a ‘darling of the Dublin tech scene’.

Furthermore, challenging industry norms the bookmaker had built its sportsbook product from the ground-up, choosing to avoid standard third-party platform provisions.

Following Australian gambling giant Tabcorp Holdings declaring in 2018 that it had outlaid £50 million on its failed UK venture Sun Bets, analysts will be assessing whether the UK betting market maintains a place for new blood.

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