What Happened To ComeOn? Brands Announce UK Closure Due To ‘Strategic Business Reasons’
The online bookmaker ComeOn! has released a statement confirming that it will be withdrawing from the UK market, citing the unfavourable nature of the British market as one of the major reasons.
The firm is big in the Nordic market and has had a United Kingdom Gambling Commission license since 2014. The company was bought by Cherry AB in 2017 and has operated as a subsidiary brand of the larger network since then.
Under Cherry AB the company has launched instant casinos in Sweden and Germany as well as looked to break into competitive gambling markets in both Poland and Denmark. They have been seen as more favourable markets for ComeOn! because of the fact that the UK market is now seen as an uncertain one, with the company feeling as though the UKGC’s license has lost its lustre.
It means that new British users of the site will not be accepted from the 23rd September 2019 and existing customers will not be able to bet or deposit after the 27th September. Punters will have until the 29th of September to withdraw funds from their accounts, after this date you can withdraw by contacting customer support.
This also applies to sister brand Mobilebet and casino brand GetLucky.
A Brief History Of ComeOn!
ComeOn! was launched as a site in 2010, targeting the Nordic market initially, working hard to break into an ultra-competitive industry. They did that predominantly by offering numerous loyalty offers to customers, earning a reputation as being a brand that will look after the people that use its services most regularly.
They launched in the UK market in 2014 and made a name for themselves over here by sponsoring Accrington Stanley when the club returned to the English Football League.
The company is based in Malta and also operates both MobileBet and GetLucky. Those two sites will also stop offering services as a result of the decision to move out of the UK.
Why Are They Pulling Out Of The UK?
There’s little doubt that one of the main reasons as to why ComeOn! have decided to pull out of the UK market is the ever-increasing uncertainty around Brexit.
The company referred to this under the all-consuming bracket of ‘strategic business reasons’, but they also spoke about their desire to move into ‘more favourable markets’, which seems to very much indicate that the state of the political scene in the United Kingdom at the moment is at the forefront of the company’s thought process. Indeed, it will now concentrate on the likes of Sweden, Malta, Germany, Poland and Denmark for its business.
Lahcene Merzoug, the Chief Executive of ComeOn!, referred to the fact that the UK’s market is both mature and competitive, meaning that there are large financial risks for companies that wish to break into it. He also pointed out that even though ComeOn! hasn’t been found guilty of any kind of compliance breach, they have seen competitors hit with large fines that have created an air of uncertainty for bookmakers operating within the UK.
Recently JPJ Group announced that they would be leaving the UK market, shutting down its Vera&John and InterCasino brands as a result, so this seems to be ComeOn!’s reaction to that.
The reality for bookmakers is that the amount of regulation put in place by the UK Gambling Commission in order to protect customers makes it very difficult for them to operate as they are able to in other parts of Europe.
They have faced an increased amount of regulation in recent times, which has come at the same time as increased tax demands have also been placed on them. When the government decided to decrease the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2, for example, they chose to make up the shortfall by increasing the Remote Gaming Duty paid by online bookies from 15% to 21%.
What It Means For Existing Customers
The company has made the announcement now in order to give their current customers enough time to decide what to do with the funds that they have in their ComeOn!, MobileBet and GetLucky accounts.
Interestingly new players are still able to create an account and join up with ComeOn! until the 23rd of September, from that date onwards they will no longer accept new customers.
All customers with the companies will then have until the 27th of September to deposit money into their accounts. No deposits will be allowed from that date on, with accounts being closed starting then.
Players will have until the 29th of September to withdraw any cash left in their accounts, with customer services being the way they’ll be able to get any money out of their account after that date. In other words, if you have an account with ComeOn!, MobileBet or GetLucky then you’ll want to withdraw your funds as soon as you can to avoid any confusion.
Why This Is A Bad Thing
ComeOn! are generally considered to be one of the better bookmakers in terms of loyalty offers, so it will be a disappointment to many UK-based bettors that they won’t be able to use their services any more. They promised punters honest terms and it will be a shame not to have them around at a time when it feels as though more and more bookies are being pulled up by the UKGC for breaches of their compliance regulations.
It’s also worth noting that other bookmakers may well follow ComeOn!’s lead, just as ComeOn! followed in the footsteps of the JackPotJoy Group.
One thing that really stuck out from Merzoug’s statement on the matter was the fact that he was damning of the value of the UK Gambling Commission’s license in the present climate. He said, “The UK-license has lost its symbolic value. Before you almost had to have one to be looked upon as a credible company. Today we hold licenses in many European countries”.
Whilst ComeOn! have made strides in the UK market since their launch here in 2014, it’s fair to say that they have never considered the country to be one of their biggest markets.
Merzoug said that it now seems like a ‘wise move’ to focus on alternative markets, which other companies might well agree with as a business plan. Given the American market is likely to become more and more open in the coming months and years, the UK market should really be hoping that not many other bookmakers choose to follow ComeOn! in moving their services elsewhere.