Online bookmaker Pinnacle Sports has confirmed it is withdrawing its services from the UK market by the end of the month. The announcement came via the Curacao-licensed firm’s Twitter account the day after rumors spread that Pinnacle would exit the UK ahead of the Sept. 15 deadline set by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for companies to apply for licensing under its new regime.
Pinnacle’s notice said the withdrawal was due to “imminent changes to British gambling licensing regulations.” As of Oct. 1, all online gambling companies looking to promote their services to and accept wagers from UK punters must hold a UKGC-issued license. The looming changes have generated a flurry of similar withdrawal announcements, with companies like Mansion and 12Bet withdrawing some verticals in order to focus on casino-only operations while their new license applications are pending. Others, like Asian-facing giant SBOBET, have chosen to withdraw from the UK market entirely.
Pinnacle’s notice said the changes affected all customers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As of 11:59pm BST on Sept. 30, players in these countries will have all account options other than withdrawal blocked. However, all wagers placed up to that moment will be honored, although players who withdraw their funds prior to that cutoff date will be disabled from making further deposits.
Pinnacle offered a glimmer of hope that its UK-facing operations might not entirely be history, saying it would be happy to welcome its UK players back “should we obtain a British gambling license in the future.” The UKGC website lists Pinnacle as having submitted its application for a new UK license, which will likely come as a relief to more than just punters, as Pinnacle has a reputation as a popular arbitrage option for other bookies.
Operators licensed in the so-called ‘white list’ jurisdictions of Antigua, Alderney and the Isle of Man have been granted a grace period in which they are allowed to continue serving UK punters while their applications are processed. Pinnacle held an Alderney license but voluntarily returned it in January 2013 shortly after US authorities targeted the company over an alleged proxy betting ring linked to Nevada sportsbooks. Charges against Pinnacle’s alleged owners have since been either dropped completely or significantly reduced.