The controversial closure of BetBright, an online bookmaker, has now dragged the Gambling Commission into hot waters. The company decided to shut its operations last week, voiding bets with a potential payout of around 1 million pounds. The Gambling Commission says that if the firm had gone into liquidation, the consumers would have received nothing out of it.
On Thursday, the Commission also provided some insights on the firm’s closure. It said that the company had used some of the proceeds it received from the 15-million-pound sale of its technology platform to rival bookmaker 888.com to cover the costs of wrapping its business. It includes closing accounts of 35,000 customers of the company, returning their deposits and their stakes on bets that had been declared void by the company.
A Commission spokesman said, “We’ve been informed that the money has formed part of the assets used to settle outstanding liabilities including the refunding of stakes and any other customer accounts.” However, he also noted that they do not have the power to insist the operator to continue being in business until all results of the ante-post bets are out.
He continued to reveal that the Commission was told that the operated was highly likely of going into insolvent liquidation if it continued to work. In this case, the customers could have received no winnings and received any refunds for their stakes. As it was a significant risk for all BetBight customers, the Commission concluded that the return of stakes to the consumers is the best way forward to ensure orderly closure of the business. He said that it was the best option for a majority of consumers in a difficult and unusual situation while pointing out that trading while insolvent is a criminal offense.
Rich Ricci worked as the executive chairman of the firm until its closure. He is a leading owner and Faugheen; his former champion hurdler finished on third place at the Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday. Ricci is a former banker working in Barclay’s investment arm till 2013. He is severely criticized by customers who think he could have done better to provide punters better positions to “cash out” or make provisions for ante-post liabilities in advance. Some of the bets placed with the operator could have potentially returned £27,000 on an initial stake of £400.