A sudden move by LeoVegas
Online gambling firm LeoVegas is withdrawing its Royal Panda brand from the United Kingdom market. No clear-cut reason was given for its sudden decision.
Royal Panda issued a website notice to customers alerting them about a pending withdrawal and providing a timeline of the exit process. The announcement was also tweeted on the brand’s official account:
From January 8 onwards, people in the UK will no longer be able to sign up for an account with Royal Panda. From January 20, existing UK-based players will not be able to make any more deposits or place further sports bets on the platform. Finally, on January 31, UK users will no longer be allowed to place any form of bets on Royal Panda or to access their accounts.
If a customer has already placed a sports wager for an event that takes place at a date after January 31, the bet will become void and the stake will be returned to the player’s account.
Players asked to clear accounts by January 31
Royal Panda is instructing its UK players to withdraw funds as soon as possible to avoid any problems before their accounts are restricted.
withdraw funds as soon as possible to avoid any problems
For those who do not clear their account before January 31, Royal Panda will “proactively attempt to release funds” through any payment that is on record for a given account holder. In the case of accounts that do not have an active payment method on record, Royal Panda will attempt to contact the account owners.
If in a year’s time on January 31, 2021 there are still funds in UK customer accounts despite the best efforts of Royal Panda, these funds will be donated to the GambleAware charity.
In a departing message, the brand said: “We’d like to thank you for playing with Royal Panda, remind you that you should withdraw your cash as soon as possible, and wish you every success in the future.”
Royal Panda offering an alternative to UK customers
After Royal Panda winds up its operations for UK customers, it hopes they will transition to the LeoVegas platform. This is the brand’s parent company which is based in Stockholm.
LeoVegas’ acquisition of Royal Panda in October 2017 was intended to help improve the operator’s presence in the UK market. Following the move, almost half of the revenue generated by Royal Panda came from customers in the UK. This deal was worth €120m ($133m) including earn-out incentives.
A couple of years later, things began to decline for the brand. A quarterly earnings report released in November 2019 highlighted some of Royal Panda’s struggles. The document said its performance in the UK market was “profitable at group level but remains challenging, where Royal Panda, in particular, had poorer performance during the quarter.”
Other brands exiting the UK market
With the uncertainty of Brexit as well as the highly competitive environment and tough regulatory requirements, a number of online gambling brands have exited the UK market in recent times.
After facing a regulatory probe, the popular Russian-based online bookmaker 1xBet closed its UK site in August 2019. In November, Everest Poker removed itself from the UK market after more than ten years of operation.