666Bet.com logo. Change.org petition.

666Bet.com claims that the lack of withdrawals being processed is down to the cancellation of contracts by third party providers. It is trying to rectify the situation, the company said in a statement. (Image: 666bet.com)

Indignant customers of troubled online gambling site 666Bet have launched an online petition demanding the return of their balances.

The petition, which has appeared on the grassroots political campaigning site, Change.org, claims that thousands of online gamblers are owed money by Metro Play Ltd, the site’s operator.

666Bet had its licensed revoked by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on March 19 for unspecified reasons.

The operator declared simply that the company was “unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities.”

The UKGC stated, however, that no restrictions had been applied to the processing of withdrawals during the suspension process, but despite this, customers have been unable to access their funds and are becoming increasingly alarmed at a lack of communication from the company.

Director Arrested on Fraud Charges

Matters took a turn for the worse when one of Metro Play’s directors. Paul Bell, was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport in relation to a £21 million ($31 million) fraud and money laundering investigation, which saw six other arrests, 13 properties raided and £1m ($1.47 million) in cash seized.

Former stockbroker Bell was released by police before being re-arrested the following say when he arrived on the Isle of Man by private jet.

“I can categorically state the investigation does not relate to 666Bet’s activities in the gamin [sic] world,” said a spokesperson for 666Bet. It had “nothing to do with the day-to-day running of 666Bet,” he added.

“Thousands of people are owed money by this thieving company,” states the petition. “People have been denied the opportunity to withdraw money. Withdrawals have been reversed.

They have stolen our money and they think they can get away with it. Money for individuals ranging from £5 to £60k is being withheld. 666Bet are thieves. They are keeping silent in the hope this fades away. Not anymore. Spread the word. Spread the awareness. We demand our money back. Now.”

Clarification on Facebook

666Bet clarified its position on its Facebook account today [Tuesday]. “While the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have stated that we do not require a license in order for customers to withdraw their money and authorized us to do so, this is misleading as it does not recognize the fact that, as a web-based company, we need to be online in order for customers to action their withdrawals via their accounts,” it said.

“In order to get back online we need the help of a third party provider. Following the suspension of our licenses by both the UKGC and the Alderney Gaming Control Commission, a number of our third party providers immediately cancelled or suspended our contracts with them, including payment providers.

We therefore do not currently have the ability to pay customers out unless we reach an agreement with other providers to return as a ‘white label.’ ”

The site maintained that it was doing everything within its power to refund customers fully but was waiting on the “aforementioned parties to reach an agreement so we can proceed as planned.”

Just why it took almost a month to post this statement is anyone’s guess.