Digitus, the parent company of Dutch online gaming software provider Betsoft, has had its gaming license suspended with immediate effect, although no one but the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) quite knows why. The AGCC, which regulates online gambling in the jurisdiction of Alderney, explained that it had issued a hearing notice under regulation 90 of the island’s gambling legislation and has ordered that the company must suspend its operations pending that regulatory hearing.
Of course, we looked up Regulation 90 of the Alderney legislation – so that you don’t have to – and we’re afraid it sheds very little light on the matter – just a couple of paragraphs of legalese about the executive director of the commission’s right to suspend gaming licenses where he sees fit, etc.
“No Longer Suitable to Hold a License”
Speaking of whom, André Wilsenach, the executive director of the AGCC had this to say on the matter, during an exclusive interview with our colleagues at Intergame: “I have sufficient grounds to believe that Digitus is no longer suitable to hold a certificate and therefore to provide services to our Category 1 licensees under their certificate. Hence the reason for my decision to call a regulatory hearing and to suspend their certificate immediately. This is now a matter for the Commission who will conduct a regulatory hearing to decide on the future of Digitus.”
All very mysterious indeed.
There’s little information listed online about Digitus, but Betsoft began life in 2012 and quickly made its mark on the industry by providing “immersive” 3D, animated, multi-platform slots games. Its online casino clients have included AsiaOnlineBet, Mansion, BetConstruct and BoyleSports. Its website states that it “cares about complying with the world’s more stringent regulatory requirements,” although, pending a regulatory hearing, Alderney appears to disagree.
The Plot Thickens…
Curiously, Alderney revoked the gaming license of another Dutch company, The Bubble Group, following a regulatory hearing last February, declaring it “no longer fit and proper to hold such a certificate.” Strangely enough, the Bubble Group owned Sheriff Gaming – also a Dutch 3D games developer. In November 2013, Dutch police arrested the owners as well as the CEO of the Bubble Group, and charged them with criminal offenses, including illegal gambling, money-laundering and drug dealing. In the aftermath, Dutch prosecutors seized 100 bank accounts, 80 residential properties and 20 vehicles across Central Europe.
Now, get this: almost a year ago, Sheriff Gaming won an intellectual property battle in a Dutch court over a “zoom effect” used in its software, brought by – guess who – Betsoft and its parent company Digitus (referred to, during the preceding as a Cypriot company). In that case, the Dutch Court of Appeal ruled that Betsoft had presented a report that it knew had been manipulated and so had absolutely no right to claim intellectual property infringement.
Of course, we’re not saying that the reason for Alderney’s decision to suspend Digitus’ license is linked to the Bubble Group’s apparently nefarious behavior, but it’s a strange coincidence, and thus we await the findings of the Alderney hearing with a sense of tremulous anticipation.