188Bet announces withdrawal from the UK market
188Bet has announced its withdrawal from the UK market. The decision is active immediately and 188Bet stated that the “very competitive” nature of the UK market is the reason behind the move.
The operator announced the news yesterday and it will cease operating in the UK immediately. The move will see 188Bet no longer available in Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, and the Channel Islands. However, the bookmaker will continue to be active in its other jurisdictions.
It has assured customers that it is financially solvent and that they will have until the end of August to withdraw their funds. In the meantime, it is no longer accepting any new customers.
Customers with ante-poste bets will be honoured as long as participating events conclude before 30 June 2019. Any single bets placed after this date will be voided, along with multiple bets with legs that take place after the June cutoff date.
In a public announcement, the operator said:
This is a commercial decision in a very competitive marketplace. Annatar Limited is solvent and fully able to meet all its financial obligations which includes its customer funds that remain ring-fenced and safe. We have provided advance notice of this to our regulators and we will manage the closure of our Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and Ireland business and return customer funds in an orderly manner.– Statement, 188Bet
188Bet was launched in the UK in 2006. Throughout that time, it made a number of fairly high-profile deals as it attempted to raise its profile in the UK.
The operator had front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic when the two teams were in the Premier League. Further deals with Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea were also in-place.
This move comes after another operator, BetBright, also announced their withdrawal from the market, and caused uproar by saying they would not be honouring existing ante-poste bets.
188Bet will honour them up to a certain date, but, is that enough? Writing in the Guardian, Chris Cook stated that he has written to the Gambling Commission for a ruling on the issue. Cook questioned the legality of a move by an operator that is still solvent and operating in other jurisdictions.