Genesis Global to Appeal UKGC Suspension

Following the Gambling Commission’s decision to temporarily suspend the UK license of Malta-based operator Genesis Global, the gambling firm has announced in strong terms that it will appeal the suspension. This year has already seen the regulator issue record fines to operators and a number of licenses have also been suspended permanently.

A roulette wheel, poker chips, playing cards and laptop, on blue felt.

The Gambling Commission’s decision to temporarily suspend the UK license of Malta-based operator Genesis Global has led to popular online casinos from Genesis Global being now no longer legal in the UK. ©Aiden Howe/Unsplash

License Suspended, Effective Immediately

Online casino operator, Genesis Global, has had its UK license revoked by the Gambling Commission. The regulator is responsible for making sure that all gambling operations in the UK are safe, fair and legal. Following a review into the company’s operations, it decided to suspend Genesis Global’s operating license, with immediate effect.

The Gambling Commission cited ‘compliance issues’ as the reason for the suspension. It went on to explain that there were suspicions that the operator may have breached a particular condition of its license, according to section 116(2) of the 2005 Gambling Act. That means that until the regulator’s review is complete, Genesis Global will have to press pause on all of its operations in the UK. The Gambling Commission elaborated via a statement published to its website:

“We suspect that Genesis Global Limited has breached a condition of the licence (section 116(2)(a) of the Act)) and is unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities (section 116(2)(c)(i)) of the Act).”

Genesis Global runs a number of online casino sites in the UK, but these will now be illegal. Customers at sites like sloty.com, casoola.com and genesiscasino.com have been encouraged to contact the operator if they have any questions regarding their accounts.

The Gambling Commission has told Genesis Global that it must allow customers to withdraw their funds and advise them not to place any further bets on its websites. Popular online casinos from Genesis Global that are now no longer legal in the UK are Casino Planet, Kassu, CasinoCruise, Casino Gods, Casino Joy, Pelaa, Spela, Spinit and Vegas Hero.

Genesis Global to Appeal

The Gambling Commission’s ruling was made on July 20th, but since then Genesis Global has announced that it will appeal the interim suspension. In a statement issued by the operator’s management, it said that it would ‘vigorously appeal’ the UKGC’s ruling.

According to the online casino group, the regulator’s decision was disproportionate, especially in comparison to previous regulatory enforcements. Genesis Global said that it had been through a number of compliance checks with the UKGC before, and no problems had arisen.

In a statement to the press, Genesis Global made its stance clear, expressing its disappointment with the outcome of the investigation and its intention to formally challenge it. It also reiterated its commitment to industry regulations in the UK. The Malta-based operator said it will still cooperate with the UK regulator’s investigation, and that its management has offered a voluntary action plan on compliance procedures. It will continue to uphold and keep improving its existing compliance policies and procedures.

Closing its statement, Genesis Global made reassurances to its loyal base of stakeholders and customers. It said that in all other jurisdictions outside of the UK, it would very much be business as usual. The company then thanked those who have supported it through recent difficulties.

Tough Regulatory Changes

Genesis Global’s interim suspension marks the latest in a long line of tough rulings that the Gambling Commission has issued this year. With pressure mounting from campaign groups and MPs, the regulator is making it clear to operators that rules are getting tougher, as are penalties.

An overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act is overdue, and the Commission has said that a new Gambling Act could be published before the end of the year. For that reason, MPs are lobbying harder than ever for significant changes, in particular in regards to safeguarding players from gambling harms.

Hot topics include categorizing loot boxes as gambling products, raising the age of play for the lottery from 16 to 18, and cracking down hard on online casino VIP schemes. This year has already seen the credit card gambling ban come into force, which also applies to MSBs like Paypal, Trustly and Apple Pay.

In May, the Commission issued FSB Technology with a £600,000 fine, over failings in regard to advertising, money laundering and social responsibility. That ruling served as a warning to white label operators not to be complacent in overseeing the operations of third party websites that they manage.

Caesars Entertainment was also slapped with a record fine of £13 million back in April, over shortcomings in its customer protections. Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, highlighted why it was so important that other gambling companies take heed of regulatory failures, such as those found at Caesars. In a statement, McArthur warned:

“We are absolutely clear about our expectations of operators – whatever type of gambling they offer they must know their customers. They must interact with them and check what they can afford to gamble with – stepping in when they see signs of harm.  Consumer safety is non-negotiable.”

While the statement on Genesis Global’s failings remains ambiguous as the investigation continues, the Gambling Commission’s stance could not be clearer. In a year that has already seen industry fines rack up to more than £27 million, the Commission is determined to keep operators in check, while it tightens regulations further. Genesis Global’s suspension may only be temporary, but it will still serve as a stark warning to other online operators.

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