What Happened To MoPlay? How Do You Get Your Money Back?
On Wednesday 19th February 2020 the parent company behind MoPlay, Addison Global, had their UK gambling license suspended for failing to meet financial obligations, a requirement of their licensing conditions. The Gibraltar Gambling Commission, where the company is based with 130 staff, also suspended trading for the company on the same basis.
The following Monday MoPlay went bust and declared insolvency, this now means customers can no longer make withdrawals. MoPlay have a basic level of deposit protection (read more below), which now means customers have no guarantees they will get a refund.
This may come as a surprise to punters who saw MoPlay as a serious new player in the market following heavy initial investment that included sponsorship of several Premier League teams. Behind the scenes though things were quickly going south with difficulties in getting funds from their mainly US shareholders leading to chronic payment issues with MoPlay. This included not paying up on sponsorship deals with Manchester United and Watford in 2019 that resulted in them being taken to court. At the same time the brand has failed to pay the majority of its advertising partners properly in over a year prior to the suspension.
Between the license being withdrawn and them being declared bankrupt customers were able to withdraw funds and existing bets were allowed to settle, from the 24th February onwards this is no longer the case. You can read more on how to get your money back along with more about why these actions were taken below.
UPDATE 16th March: MoPlay Player Base Bought By Betfred
All hope is not yet lost for former MoPlay customers who cannot get their money back since the company went insolvent last month. On the 3rd March the administrators, PwC, announced the MoPlay player base would be put up for sale. Two weeks later it was confirmed that Betfred had acquired the 45,000 active accounts in the UK.
The successful the sale of the account base, which was believed to be in the millions, will now hopefully provide funds for liquidators to pay down debt, including to advertisers and players.
Resolution is still not likely to be quick, but at least there is now some chance customers will be fully refunded.
Existing Bets & Will You Get Your Money Back?
A big reason you should only bet with licensed operators is for exactly this type of thing. A requirement of a gambling license is to protect customer funds in case a business gets suspended. This means you can get any funds in your account back and any bets you currently have that go on to win will be paid out as long as the company is still active, which unfortunately MoPlay no longer are.
The UKGC have three tiers of protection levels for operators; High (customer funds held in legally independent accounts), Medium (insurance or other arrangement to ensure customer funds are protected), and Low (funds held within the company but in a separate isolated account independently verified).
Addison Global only had a low level of protection, this was fine while company was still solvent it meant the money was still there and protected. Sadly now they have gone bust the basic level of protection no longer guarantees customers will be paid out, this is because while deposits are held in a separate account they are still legally part of the company and will be classed as an asset in this case.
The statement on the website currently reads:
“Due to financial difficulties, we are unable to process withdrawals,” a message on the MoPlay website said. “We draw your attention to clause 9 of our terms and conditions which refers to the status of funds in the event of insolvency.”
In the MoPlay terms clause 9 reads:
“Funds will be held separate from company funds in a mixture of bank accounts and reserve funds which we hold with our payment processors. However, if there was ever a situation where we became insolvent, your funds would not be considered separate to the other company assets and you may not receive all your funds back.”
If you have not already withdrawn funds or you have active bets for the time being there is little you can do. At some point there may be administrators assigned that will then pay creditors depending on the assets left, there is a chance that you may get some money back in the future but it may not be the full amount you are owed. Administrators will first pay creditors such as HMRC and then secured creditors, unfortunately customers are a little way down on that list and so will basically get anything that is left in the end.
You can contact MoPlay directly (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) about your money but whatever happens it will be a long wait before you find out if you will get anything back.
Unfortunately most gambling websites only offer a low level of protection, if the protection was medium or high you would be able to get your money back in this case. It is worth considering who you bet with and only bet with companies that have medium or high protection.
Why Was The MoPlay License Suspended?
When MoPlay came on the scene it was obvious there was some serious backing behind the brand, it is almost unheard of for a new site to come online with the quality of product and depth that they had. They were running big offers, such as risk free bets for the Super Bowl, cash offers for Cheltenham and other things like spending 10’s of millions on sponsorship that suggested they were willing to spend a lot to get a footing in the UK, the most challenging and competitive gambling market in the world.
The brand was established in 2017 and in 2018 things looks good for MoPlay as they were one of the fastest growing brands in the market. Mid-way through 2019, however, warning signs started to emerge with many advertising partners complaining they were not being paid. This was quickly followed by news that Man United and Watford were seeking compensation from the company for unpaid sponsorship.
During the second half of 2019 the brand went pretty quiet, scaled back on its promotions to customers and reduced its sponsorship liabilities. This was the start of a restructuring process that was supposed to turn the finances of the Addison Global around so they could meet the funding conditions of their licenses.
The main crux of the issue, according to sources at MoPlay in 2019, was in securing funding from their major US shareholders. Despite many promises this would be fixed it seems they were unable to restructure and finance to a degree satisfactory to licensing authorities. Patience finally ran out in early 2020 with both Gibraltar and the UKGC suspending trading.
Why Did They Go Bust? Will The Brand Come Back?
MoPlay went bust due to severe financial difficulties that spiraled over their short two year lifespan. When their license was suspended customers were able to withdraw funds for 3 days but quickly Addison Global realised they would not be able to honour all withdrawals and declared insolvency. The fact is that even if you did issue a withdrawal request while they were still live you may not get paid if that request was not processed, given it was over a weekend too it means most requests may be like this.
There is a possibility that three things could happen:
- MoPlay gets bought by an existing gambling company who decide to honour withdrawals and bets. This happened in 2019 when 888 bought BetBright who had gone into administration. Unfortunately this is not likely to happen here due to the level of debt they are in (they owe some advertising partners in excess of £500,000) combine with the toxic atmosphere behind the brand.
- The brand will be allowed to fail and then another company will buy the trademark and relauch MoPlay under a completely different company. This is something that could only happen once MoPlay is fully dissolved and it will means exisiting customers do not get paid back by the new company. This is again unlikely due to the damage to the MoPlay name.
- MoPlay is dissolved and never comes back. Unfortunately this is the most likely scenario now and to add insult to injury it is likely those behind MoPlay will simply start new companies in time to come and this is the nature of business, but it does sting if you are someone with money locked up in the failed company.
Whatever the result we will keep this page updated so you know where you stand. We wish you the best of luck getting your funds back and suggest in future you choose gambling sites with medium or high levels of protection for your deposits.