The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has awarded Amaya’s PokerStars and Full Tilt poker brands with continuation licenses, allowing the two online poker rooms to continue uninterrupted service to its players and business customers in the United Kingdom. The UKGC’s granting of the licenses was made in recognition of the two sites’ existing licenses in the Isle of Man, which has allowed PokerStars and Full Tilt to operate in the UK as a white-listed company.
In addition to PokerStars and Full Tilt UK, online bookmaker Bet-at-home also received its own continuation license, giving it authority to operate its online casino and online sportsbook in the UK. The site did not receive a poker license. Even without the poker license, the company issued a short statement on its website, calling the license approval as “another milestone in terms of legal certainty in the European Union.”
Meanwhile, California-based Gamblit Gaming, a technology provider for real money gaming in video games, also announced its license approval from the UKGC, paving the way for the company’s office in Alderney to begin operating a UK-facing online casino.
“We’re thrilled to be granted UK operation approval,” Gamblit Gaming CEO Eric Meyerhofer said in a statement. “Our Alderney office will be the first to launch truly creative and engaging real money interactive games our team has been hard at work developing. Our much anticipated entry into the UK gaming space will be coming soon.”
UKGC warns sports teams about risks in advertising unlicensed sponsors
UKGC wasn’t just busy handing out continuation licenses, it also spent some time sending letters to sports governing bodies and laying out its position with regards to teams continuing to display advertisements from non-licensed gambling sites.
The letter, dated October 27, 2014, discussed that while the UKGC recognizes that some teams with “existing commercial agreements” with non-licensed gambling operators, however, these operators should not be allowed to advertise their products without “making it clear in the product advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain.”
The letter continued by saying that organizations with sponsorship agreements could be punished “under section 330 of the Act for the offence of unlawful advertising” if they don’t ensure that their non-licensed partners are blocked to bettors in the UK and that this point is made perfectly clear to the bettors. Organizations will be liable if they provide links of an unlicensed sponsor on their website.
“Carrying out the necessary blocking effectively may offer significant technical challenges in practice,” the UKGC letter added. “Relevant sports bodies, clubs etc. will no doubt wish to ensure that they have minimized their exposure to this risk.”