Ladbrokes Exits Finland, Portugal, Romania and Russia
UK-based gaming operator Ladbrokes plc has added Finland, Portugal, Romania, and Russia to its list of restricted territories.
It is believed that the gaming operator left these four countries due to licensing concerns. Portugal and Romania are expected to pass regulation in 2015, and it is believed that Ladbrokes may apply for licenses once a new regime is in place. According to PokerFuse, the Romanian bill contains a bad actor clause not allowing any gaming company to apply for a license one year if it has been blacklisted by the country's gaming regulatory body.
A quick return, if any, should not be expected to Finland or Russia. Finland's gaming regime runs on a monopoly-based system while the and Russian authorities recently warned gaming operators that they plan to crack down on all remote gaming operations in their country.
The restriction of gaming services in these countries is following a trend from last year with the gaming operator's departure from Canada, Hungary, Switzerland, and Norway during 2014.
With 68 countries now on its restricted territories list, Ladbrokes appears to have a corporate direction of focusing on areas it is licensed in, while removing itself from any possible grey market areas. This may be in no small part due to the new UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act forcing gaming operators to provide legal arguments as to why they are operating in countries without a license under local laws.
Ladbrokes has just started to see some rebounds after its tedious migration from the Microgaming platform to the Playtech platform. Whether the departure from these markets and the announced departure of Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn stunts the growth remains to be seen.