In March of last year, Mansion Group, the company behind a variety of online sports betting and casino platforms, shut down its sports betting activity in the UK in favor of online gambling. Now, it has decided to pull its iGaming operations, as well.
Mansion has been active in the UK online gaming market for over five years. However, it apparently never gained enough traction to make a long-term investment in the country worthwhile.
The company is shutting down its Casino.com, Mansion Casino and Slots Heaven platforms, all of which already inform visitors of the exit. It isn’t clear, and Mansion executives aren’t saying, if it will close its operations in other locations, such as Spain or Canada.
UK iGaming Field Gets Smaller
Mansion didn’t provide a lot of details about the decision, nor did it offer a lot of warning. That lack of proactive customer support likely explains part of the reason behind its inability to garner a lot of success.
It’s also possible that the changing environment in the UK played a part. The country is undergoing a shift in its approach to gambling, and greater restrictions are making it more difficult for some operators to earn a living.
On Mansion’s UK-facing websites, a message now appears. It explains that the platform stopped accepting deposits as of 5 PM on January 12, and turned off gameplay just before midnight.
It adds that users must zero out their accounts by April 12. In accordance with UK gaming regulations, users can technically request withdrawals after that date. However, the process isn’t easy and could take several months to complete.
Mansion has a presence in Spain, Canada, Africa and more. However, as it concentrates more on affiliate activity, there exists the possibility that these other online gaming jurisdictions may succumb to the same business decision.
The exit from the UK market could trigger additional changes at Mansion. It has had sponsorships with several sports teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and more, but could be eyeing additional departures from the country.
Last August, 888 Holdings announced that it would remove the Mr Green sportsbook from the UK, but not from Ireland. It added that it would keep the online casino side of the business going, but the decision by Mansion shows that not all announcements can be taken at face value.
The exit from the UK marks a major shift for Mansion, and one that defies logic. Multiple studies have shown that the country’s online gaming industry, with over $12.5 billion in revenue, is the most successful in Europe.
It’s also one of the strongest in the world. The US is catching up, with its $11-billion industry, and Australia is in a distant third with $6.5 billion.
The global gaming industry is watching the UK as it continues to work on gambling reform. Both the government and gaming regulators continue to tweak the framework, but the biggest changes are going to come through an updated government-prepared gambling white paper.
That update will likely deliver the biggest changes in the UK’s gambling laws in almost two decades. However, anti-gambling pundits are screaming for a complete overhaul with more restrictions, which won’t likely happen.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), which is overseeing the changes, acknowledges that certain new controls are necessary. However, higher-ups within the government body have also admitted that it will take a commonsense approach to the reforms.
That should include considering three key factors. Several studies, including those by the UK Gambling Commission, have shown that problem gambling encompasses less than 0.2% of the market. That makes it virtually non-existent, and achieving 0.0% is an unrealistic pipedream.
Additionally, with the gambling industry such a large contributor to the economy, the UK can’t afford to trim it down too much. The current financial stability and future economic projections preclude the use of massive restrictions.
Lastly, numerous studies have proven what the anti-gambling group refuses to admit. Restrictive regulated markets lead to increased activity on the black markets. Therefore, tightening the regulated market in the UK will only invite an increase in illegal operations.
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