LeoVegas withdraws Royal Panda brand from UK gambling market


leovegas-royal-panda-online-gambling-uk-exitOnline gambling operator LeoVegas has withdrawn its Royal Panda brand from the UK, the latest operator to apparently decide the market’s increased regulatory burden is too great.

On Tuesday, Royal Panda informed its customers that the brand would leave the UK market as of January 31. The notice stated that UK gamblers were now prevented from signing up new accounts, while existing UK players will be prevented from making deposits or placing new sports bets as of January 20.

All gambling activity will cease as of January 31 at 9am local time, and any sports wagers placed by January 20 for events occurring after January 31 will be voided and the funds returned. For bets already placed on events occurring after January 31, Royal Panda “will be in touch with you shortly to explain what will happen to your stake and any potential winnings.”

Royal Panda encouraged its UK players to withdraw funds in their accounts “as soon as possible, as your account will be inaccessible after 31 January.” After that date, Royal Panda will “proactively attempt to release funds” using the payment method on record and contact any customers for whom this is no longer possible. Any funds remaining in accounts as of January 31, 2021 will be donated to the GambleAware charity.

Royal Panda invited customers to switch their allegiance to the Stockholm-based LeoVegas, which acquired Royal Panda in October 2017 for the express purpose of boosting its UK market presence. At the time, the UK accounted for nearly half of Royal Panda’s revenue.

Last November, LeoVegas released its Q3 earnings report, which included the news that its UK-facing business was “profitable at group level but remains challenging, where Royal Panda in particular had poorer performance during the quarter.”

Royal Panda is far from the first brand to exit the “very competitive” UK market as the cost of regulatory compliance in the UK continues to rise. The Tory government has also promised a review of the 2005 Gambling Act that could ban the use of credit cards while politicians and campaigners are lobbying hard for severe restrictions in online casino stakes.