6 Aug

UKs stranglehold on Online Casino Licensees too much for some

Vera&John and InterCasino are escaping the restrictive noose of UK online casino laws before the month is out.

Vera&John, InterCasino Escaping the Restrictive Noose of UK Online Casino Laws

On the morning of August 5, 2019, JPG Group issued a mass email to all UK-based customers and affiliates of its flagship online casino operations, Vera&John and InterCasino, advising them to initiate a withdrawal request of any remaining balance in their accounts. They were given four weeks, until September 3, to complete the extraction of funds.

What brought about this sudden and rapid exodus from the UK market? The emails failed to address that most obvious question, but there’s little doubt in my mind as to the nature of their decision. The UK is simply too hard to run a successful iGaming operation in.

Vera&John, InterCasino Escape UK Online Casino Laws

Ever since the jurisdiction began requiring UK-facing operators to obtain expensive online casino licenses, the laws have become increasing more strict, so much so that this highly competitive market is difficult to sustain operations in. Suffice it to say, you know the situation is serious when online casinos of this caliber are feeling the squeeze.

Fears that the market would become unprofitable arose in late 2014, the moment licensure became mandatory. The UK enforced a 15% tax, and demanded compliance with local laws, including the severance of any connection with black-market player acceptance. For example, in order to accept UK players, a license holder could not accept US players.

Many chose to follow the letter of the law, but the noose has become progressively tighter in the last 5 years. Now, player protections are so stringent that bonuses are being effected. Terms of services are constantly being rewritten. Affluent players must be asked to verify their source of funds, proving they can afford to wager so much. The fines for non-compliance are growing larger by the infraction, costing the region’s largest and oldest operators penalties in the multi-millions.

JPG Group Dumping its UK Licenses

No doubt JPG Group, owner of Vera&John and InterCasino, is no longer acquiesce to the shrinking noose that has become the UK market. With its UK online casino licenses expiring, the company is choosing not to submit an application for extension.

As of August 5, no UK players are permitted to sign up a new account. Existing UK players are asked to finish up their wagering by August 27, and finalize any cash out request no later than September 3, when all UK operations will cease for good.

Operations will Continue from Malta and Sweden

JPG Group will continue to maintain its local licenses in Malta, where the company’s head offices reside, as well as its Swedish licenses. As such, all other current players (outside UK) will still have access to both of these highly reputable gaming websites.

InterCasino is historically famous for being the very first online casino to launch on the world wide web in 1996. Its operations have changed hands several times in the last 23 years, now beneath the capable wing of JPG Group. Vera&John was originally founded as Mari Bingo, but sold its operation to Unibet in 2007, then re-launched under the new name in 2011. It’s been a staple of iGaming throughout Europe every since.

Announcing the Cessation of UK Operations

In its email to UK players, JPG Group wrote:

We are sorry to announce that Vera & John and InterCasino will cease to operate in the UK market as of 3rd September 2019(“Closure Date”). In addition, please be advised that as of today, 5th August 2019 we have ceased to accept new customers and the registration form has been disabled.”

Affiliates of Vera&John and InterCasino received a similar missive, advising them that all UK-based commissions generated prior to September 3 will be honored and paid “shortly after Closure Date”. All marketing materials for new UK players should be removed immediately, but accounts will continue to operate as usual while affiliates are encouraged to drive traffic from other markets where depositors are still welcome.

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