The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that the two high-street bookmakers Paddy Power Betfair and Betfred have withdrawn the products they have recently launched following a warning issued by the major gambling regulator.
In addition, the watchdog further explained that the gambling operators could face regulatory action, as the investigation held by the Gambling Commission is still ongoing. The third operator that was reported to be preparing a launch of a similar new roulette-style product, William Hill, has also been warned by the regulator. It also became clear that key senior staff members of the bookmakers who are responsible for the roll-out of the new products to the market may face an investigation from the Commission.
Products recently launched in high street bookmakers Paddy Power Betfair and BetFred have been pulled following a warning from the Gambling Commission, and the operators could still now face regulatory action as we continue to investigate. Read more here: https://t.co/L6BZ2QAu49 pic.twitter.com/iCDalFCX8u
— Gambling Commission (@GamRegGB) April 2, 2019
The beginning of the week saw the official introduction of the reduced maximum stakes on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2. British bookmakers have warned the Government and the regulators that the change would seriously affect their performance and could lead to the closures of hundreds of betting shops and massive lay-offs in the industry, but eventually, the authorities have not brought changes to the initial plan for the maximum stake cuts.
Roulette-Style Games Released to Circumvent FOBT Crackdown Rules
Despite the warnings of British bookmakers that the new maximum betting limit for the machines would hurt their overall performances, the companies have not received the support they hoped for from the competent authorities.
This is probably why some of them have decided to circumvent the restrictions imposed on FOBTs by launching some high-stakes roulette-style games on the very same day when the FOBT crackdown restriction was deployed. The UK Gambling Commission started an investigation into the high-stake roulette-style games and only a couple of days later the two companies which had launched the games have been forced to withdraw them from the market.
We want to hear your opinions on how gambling businesses can strengthen harm prevention measures on Category B gaming machines. Share your thoughts with us here: https://t.co/tDpvcOtAv7 pic.twitter.com/xZyyjKYi0X
— Gambling Commission (@GamRegGB) April 1, 2019
According to experts, the “Pick ‘n’ 36” and “Virtual Cycling” games launched by Paddy Power and Betfred, respectively, were a way for the two operators to bypass the new requirements for the fixed-odds betting terminals. Both of them offered large maximum betting stakes, despite the gameplay was slower in comparison to the one available at the FOBTs.
An employee of Paddy Power Betfair has revealed that 320 of the operator’s betting shops have seen the game to be released on trial. A representative of Betfred, on the other hand, has claimed that the “Virtual Cycling” game released by the company on April 1st was not a machine game as it offered over-the-counter bets.
As Casino Guardian has already revealed, the British gambling giant William Hill has also been testing a roulette-style game, with an employee claiming that it was likely for the operator to soon roll out the “Wonderball” game. Now, the UKGC has warned the operator, along with warning issued to the rest of the industry against any attempts of gambling companies to bypass the rules imposing the FOBT maximum stake reduction.