Section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005 allows for the Gambling Commission to commence a review of an operating licence. A review can be commenced if the Commission:
- Has reason to suspect that activities may have been carried on in purported reliance on the licence but not in accordance with a condition of the licence,
- Believes that the licensee, or a person who exercises a function in connection with or is interested in the licensed activities, has acquired a conviction mentioned in the Act, or
- For any reason-
- Suspects that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities, or
- Thinks that a review would be appropriate.
It is clear from the above that a review of the licence can be brought from a broad range of circumstances, commenced by the Gambling Commission.
The Gambling Commission have the power to suspend operating licences in accordance with Section 118 of the Gambling Act 2005. The Gambling Commission have confirmed that they have decided to suspend Genesis Global Limited’s licence as they suspect they have breached a condition of the licence and also suspect they are unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities. The suspension is pending the conclusion of the review. This means that the suspension, effective from 20 July 2020, makes it illegal for the operator to offer gambling services in accordance with the active domain names on the licence, of which there are 12.
Genesis Global Limited have confirmed its intention to appeal the decision to suspend the licence whilst confirming that they have co-operated with the Gambling Commission in accordance with previous compliance inspections.
In addition to the most recent announcement, the Gambling Commission also suspended Stakers Limited’s licence from 04 March 2020, a suspension which remains the case at the time of writing.
This is concerning news for operators who may be subject to a review by the Gambling Commission and are immediately suspended, pending the conclusion of the review, from providing gambling services to its customers regardless of operators willingness to co-operate with the Gambling Commission.
No detail has been provided as to the failures of the compliance issues identified however we do know that the Gambling Commission have been focussing on gambling harm and affordability issues as a priority, especially as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and the protection of consumers.
We will be keeping a watchful eye on the progress of this matter, in addition to any appeal brought by the operator after its public statement sets out that the suspension will be ‘vigorously appealed’.
If you have any questions concerning licensed operator status and Gambling Commission enforcement/reviews then please do not hesitate to contact Andy and the gaming team on 0113 234 3055 or by email Andrew@woodswhur.co.uk.