The online bookmaker MoPlay has had its licences suspended in both the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. The UK decision was taken by the Gambling Commission when it decided to initiate a review of Addison Global Limited, which uses MoPlay as its trading name. The Gibraltar authorities have suspended it over concerns about solvency issues the operator is having.
The Gambling Licensing Authority is responsible for making decision about companies and their ability to operate in Gibraltar and made the decision to suspend Addison Global Limited’s licence to operate there because Gibraltar’s Gambling Commissioner, Andrew Lyman, advised the GLA to do so. He had been working with Addison Global Limited executives over outstanding liabilities.
Three days later MoPlay went out of business and have stopped processing withdrawals. The brand had a basic level of deposit protection, which means customer funds are classed as part of the company – unfortunately this now means those with funds in MoPlay may not get all (or any) of their money back. Read more about this below.
MoPlay Have Failed To Pay Advertising Partners
In 2019 the record English Premier League champions Manchester United took a United States of America-based company called Select Management Resources to federal court. That was because SMR had chosen to act as the guarantors for payments to the Red Devils for a sponsorship deal that the club had agreed to with MoPlay.
The reason behind the lawsuit was that MoPlay had defaulted on payments on more than one occasion, leaving an unpaid balance of around £9 million. As MoPlay’s guarantors, SRM became responsible for the payment. Whilst it’s not being suggested that the situation with United is behind the licences being suspended, it is suggestive of a company with financial problems.
In August of 2018 Watford Football Club also announced that they had reached a deal with MoPlay for the betting firm to become the club’s sleeve sponsorship. It was Watford’s largest sleeve sponsorship to date at the time, but when the Manchester United news emerged it also seemed as though Watford were suing the company too.
Why The Licences Were Suspended
There are different reasons behind the United Kingdom Gambling Commission’s decision to suspend Addison Global Limited’s licence and the Gambling Licensing Authority in Gibraltar doing the same thing, but the reasons are unquestionably linked. The UKGC’s website carried a statement saying that a review was being carried out and the licence was suspended as a result.
Addison Global Limited have a Combined Remote Operating Licence – Real Event and Virtual Betting Casino licence with the UKGC, which was suspended in order to allow the Commission to carry out a review of the company on account of a belief that the company had ‘breached a condition of the licence’ and was ‘unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities’.
The Gibraltar authorities, meanwhile, suspended the licence issues to Addison Global Limited because the company had offered some proposals for the honouring of outstanding debt, only to find that said proposals ‘have not materialised’. The GLA released a statement saying that the ‘Gambling Commissioner is no longer able to accept that the firm is able to meet its licensing condition’.
The GLA’s decision was taken in order to ‘protect consumers from any further detriment’, which is suggestive of the licensing authority not being sure that Addison Global Limited will be able to fulfil the duties of its licence. In both cases customers will continue to have access to their accounts in order to withdraw funds and outstanding bets may still be settled.
The UKGC Enforcing The Gambling Act
The Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom was set up as part of the 2005 Gambling Act, so it’s no major surprise that the organisation sticks to the rules and regulations outlined in the act when it comes to the suspension of operating licences. In its statement the UKGC specifically pointed to section 116, 118 and 120, but what do they all say?
Obviously the full sections are far too long to go into detail here, but there are a few key sentences that can tell us a bit about the regulator’s decision to suspend Addison Global Limited, and therefore MoPlay’s, licence. In section 116, for example, there’s a reference to the UKGC being able initiate a licence review if a licensee can’t ‘ensure compliance with conditions’.
That includes if the UKGC ‘suspects that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities’. Section 118 talks about the ability to initiate a review of a licence if parts of section 120 aren’t being met. Section 120 is the part of the licence that deals with ‘conditions for suspension or revocation’, with part 1 being of particular interest.
Part 1 says suspension can be carried out if a ‘condition of the licence has been breached’, ‘the licensee has failed to cooperate with a review’ or ‘the licensee is unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities’. The latter point is the one that is closer to the reasoning being given by the GLA in Gibraltar, so is likely to be the case here also.
Who Are Addison Global Limited?
Juergen Reutter was the Innovation lead for William Hill before he decided to leave the established English bookmaker in order to create a betting company of his own. This was in 2017, when the idea of so-called ‘challenger companies’ was popular in the betting world, especially if someone with such experience was involved in the entire enterprise.
There were also shareholders involved who, it was said, would offer financial financial support. That was part of the reason that Addison Global Limited was able to receive a licence to operate from the Gambling Licensing Authority in Gibraltar, but the organisation has said, “It is most disappointing that the promised financial support from the shareholder has failed to materialise”.
You can read more about Addison Global on our sister site.
Are They Still Operating?
No, MoPlay are no longer operational having now been declared insolvent. This means customers can no longer log in and withdraw funds, existing bets will no longer settle (read next section for more).
According to the UK government’s Companies House, Addison Global Limited was dissolved on the 18th of February 2020. A notice for compulsory strike-off was issued on the 26th of February 2019 but was discontinued the following day. Another notice for compulsory strike-off was issued on the 3rd of December 2019 before the company was dissolved via compulsory strike-off.
On the 24th February the company finally did announce it had gone out of business, the following statement is visible on the website:
“Please note that MoPlay’s licence has been suspended and we cannot take any further bets or accept any other gambling activity. Due to financial difficulties, we are unable to process withdrawals. We draw your attention to clause 9 of our terms and conditions which refers to the status of funds in the event of insolvency. The terms and conditions can be accessed in the My Account section of the website. We will continue to keep you updated.”
What To Do If You Have Funds Or Active Bets
One of the major benefits of betting only with sites that have a UK license is the license itself protects your funds for companies that receive suspensions, unfortunately at its basic level, which is what MoPlay were at, it means once they go bust the funds are classed as part of the business and you may not get any of those funds back.
Addison Global had only a basic level of protection as defined by the UKGC. Following their suspension users were allowed to request withdrawals over the weekend but unfortunately most of those transactions were not processed meaning even if you did manage to issue a withdrawal there is now no guarantees it will get to you.
For reference clause 9 of the MoPlay terms is as follows:
“Funds will be held separate from company funds in a mixture of bank accounts and reserve funds which we hold with our payment processors. However, if there was ever a situation where we became insolvent, your funds would not be considered separate to the other company assets and you may not receive all your funds back.”
If you have outstanding bets or funds still in your MoPlay account it is now a waiting game. The next step will be the appointment of administrators who will first pay HMRC and secured creditors, then it will be advertising partners and customers, however, by the time they get to those the pot will be pretty dry. You may end up getting some but not all of your money but this will be a long wait.
Existing bets were allowed to settle while the bookie was solvent but now these are no longer guaranteed too and any stakes will be counted the same as deposited funds.
It may be worth in the future choosing a site with a medium or high level of deposit protection, which would mean you would get your money back if they went bust. There are not many new sites with high level of protection but you could consider Mr.Play, who are a good new site with medium protection.