British bookie Ladbrokes is pulling out of online operations in Finland, Romania, Russia and Portugal following a regulatory operational overhaul.
The move has been forced by changes in European and UK online gambling legislation which restricts operators from providing a service to no more than three per cent of ‘grey areas.’
The biggest loss in earnings is expected to come from Russia. Russia has sent out strict warnings to operators offering betting or gambling services in Russia and even those advertising to Russian-based players, Finland operates within a monopolistic gambling regime whilst Romania and Portugal are working towards new online regulatory frame works during 2015. Romania recently increased the annual license fee for online casinos to €100,000. The list of countries that Ladbrokes classes as ‘grey areas’ now totals 68.
Ladbrokes issued an emailed statement to its customer base detailing that it would cease operations in the areas, stressing that it would focus its betting services on Europe’s regulated online markets. It has already withdrawn from Canada, Hungary, Norway and Switzerland. It is of course not alone in withdrawing from such countries.
Betfair, Unibet and BetClic-Everest have all recently pulled the plug on Russia whilst PokerStars is monitoring Russia closely having pulled out of 30 ‘grey’ areas last October.
With other ‘grey’ countries including China, India, Brazil and Australia, online operators will be hit with a significant downturn in their fortunes, if the permitted number of grey areas is limited further.