The betting company, Royal Panda, which was purchased by LeoVegas in 2017, will leave the UK market at the end of this month. Only a couple of months ago did Royal Panda announce that they were launching the Red Tiger slots on their platform, leading most in the industry to assume that all was fine with the Swedish operator. Yet now they’ve announced that new customers will no longer be taken on from the sixth of January.
Quite why the company has chosen to leave the market is unknown at the point, leading to speculation from some quarters that its might be linked to the punishment doled out to LeoVegas by the UKGC back in May of 2018. Whilst that might seem unlikely, we have seen other companies, such as ComeOn, leave the United Kingdom for fear of the ever-tightening regulations being put in place.
A Combination of Factors Likely
The truth is that numerous UK-facing gambling companies are considering their position at the moment, with a combination of factors playing a part in the decision making. Brexit has caused a huge degree of uncertainty for betting firms, with the fact that the company will still operate in other markets rather than close down altogether pointing to that being a bigger factor than many might initially think.
There has also been a tightening of regulations by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which also won’t be helping companies that are deciding what to do about the political turmoil in the country. The lack of clear plan for trading between the UK and the European Union has already spooked companies, with the likes of ComeOn, EveryMatrix, BetBright and BlackBet having already abandoned the market.
Sadly, the increasing of the Online Gaming Tax from 15% to 21% has seen smaller operators face a major squeeze. The increase, which came about as a response to the decision to limit stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2, won’t make a massive difference to the likes of Rank Interactive and GVC Holdings, but will cause major issues for smaller companies such as Royal Panda.
What Customers Need to Know
The key thing for customers is to understand what will happen next, with Royal Panda outlining this nice and clearly. No new players will be accepted on the site from today, with UK players being limited in terms of making deposits and placing bets from the 20th of the month. Accounts will no longer be accessible via the Royal Panda website from the 31st of January, with activities covered by the company’s UK licence no longer covered.
Customers are being encouraged to withdraw money from their accounts as soon as possible. If you fail to do so then you’ll need to contact the company’s customer service team in order to get whatever money you have left withdrawn. They will pro-actively attempt to get funds back to you after the cut-off date, but if they don’t have the up-to-date details for you then they’ll obviously be unable to do so.
Any customers that have bonus balances in their Royal Panda account will have until the 31st of January to meet the wagering requirements to get the funds released. After that, though, the balance will be set to zero and play at Royal Panda will not be possible. It’s important to remember that bonus wagering requirements can only be met with cash, so you’ll need to get the necessary amount into your account by January 20th.
What About Outstanding Bets?
Given the somewhat quick nature of LeoVegas Group’s decision to shut Royal Panda, it’s likely that a number of customers will have placed ante-post bets that they’ll now be concerned about. Bets on events that settle after the 31st of January will be made void and the stake returned to your account. Single bets up to £100 will be settled as winners, if the odds of other bets are the same or shorter than when placed they’ll also be paid as winners.
In cases where the odds have increased, Royal Panda will make them void them and return the stake to your account. There are some exceptions to this, however, with the following bets being paid out in full:
- Liverpool to win the Premier League
- Vardy to be Premier League top goalscorer
- Leeds or West Brom to win the Championship
- Rangers or Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership
- All four teams currently in the Super Bowl
All ante-post bets will be settled as soon as possible, giving punters plenty of time to withdraw money from their accounts.
LeoVegas Will Focus on Other Sites
LeoVegas have actually made no real secret of the fact that Royal Panda has fared much worse than other brands under the ownership. They will now look to focus on the main LeoVegas site, which ‘Loyal Pandas’ are being encouraged to sign up to, as well as other sites being managed by Rocket-X. Whilst Royal Panda performs well outside of the United Kingdom, it doesn’t do so in the British market.
A spokesperson said of the company’s other sites, “Those brands are performing better in the UK market and therefore we want to invest in them rather than in Royal Panda.” Whether punters will be happy to switch allegiance to other brands under the LeoVegas banner remains to be seen, given the turmoil in the market place, but the company will likely be happy enough to cut its losses.