A shock license suspension has hit all casino sites operated by Halesowen based operator Intouch Games.
For any customers who are wondering why they can’t use their usual Intouch casino site as normal, this is the reason.
The UKGC took the decision to suspend Intouch Games’ license with immediate effect on the 1st of September, after deciding to carry out a review under section 116 of the Gambling Act 2005.
Intouch are under new management as it were, since 2022, but they have been in hot water several times over the last 3 years or so, and you would think they would have straightened the ship by now.
This is an unwelcome and potentially worrisome interruption for their players, and a bad look for the industry as a whole.
READ ME: Updated Information as of 8th September
Since this blog was written, all Intouch brands have contacted account holders via email to say that their casinos will not be re-opening.
InTouch Games will be closing as a company entirely, and so will all of their brands, although the company that owns InTouch, Skywind Group, is still operating as normal.
In terms of customer funds, you have until March 6th 2024 to log on and withdraw any money left in your accounts, after which the sites will cease to exist.
Anyone who is living under a rock and misses this deadline, will have to email the casino directly to arrange getting their money back after this date.
It’s only fair to point out that while InTouch has been essentially forced to close due repeated to regulatory failings, Skywind Group are not at fault here.
They bought InTouch Games in 2022, after the issues in question had taken place, and were working hard to turn the company around. However, there was simply too much that had gone on prior to their takeover for Skywind to save InTouch Games, so it probably made more sense to them to close the company rather than be tarnished by them.
Why are Intouch Games Casino Sites Not Working?
They still work, but the company is not allowed to operate them in the UK until the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) say so.
The UKGC won’t say so until their review has been completed, and since it is suspected that Intouch failed to follow licence conditions relating to money laundering, fair and transparent terms and practices, and reporting key events, there may well be a hefty fine to pay if and when they do re-open.
It wouldn’t be their first either; Intouch Games have paid £11 million to the UKGC in fines since 2019, so the regulator may well make an example of them.
But what does this mean in every day language that regular people understand?
“The review and consequent suspension follows concerns that activities may have been carried out contrary to the [Gambling] Act, not in accordance with conditions of their licence and that the Licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities. It is suspected the operator failed to follow licence conditions related to money laundering, fair and transparent terms and practices, and reporting key events.”
So basically, they haven’t been carrying out AML (Anti Money Laundering) checks to the standard required of them, making it potentially easier for criminally obtained money to be washed through their site.
No specific details were given for any of these issues, so we don’t know what the specifics were in regards to the ‘fair and transparent terms and practices‘, but an example would be confusing or misleading withdrawal or promotional terms. So an offer that is not quite what it seems, for instance.
Regarding the reporting of key events, again, this could be a multitude of things, but an example would be a gaming system fault, or a security breach, or changes to personnel in key positions. These things must be reported to the UKGC within 5 working days, and evidently, this hasn’t happened.
Intouch Games was acquired by Skywind Group in 2022, and these sorts of things tend to be historical, so it might be the case that Skywind has been making positive changes but has not been at the helm long enough for them to come into effect.
I’m speculating here, but it seems crazy that a company which has had so many warnings would deliberately still not do things by the book. Especially knowing they were under extra scrutiny from the UKGC.
What About Customers Money?
Of course the main concern for players will be whether or not their money is at risk, and the good news is that yes, if you are a customer of any of the Intouch Games’ brands, your money is safe.
The sites impacted are as follows:
If you are signed up to any of these sites and have money in your account, you can still log in and withdraw it as normal, and I would recommend you do so.
It’s part of the licensing conditions that customer funds are not affected in these situations, so while the sites can no longer accept deposits or allow customers to play their games, withdrawals are unaffected.
It’s best to get the money out now, just to be on the safe side.
If and when the sites re-open you can always deposit again, but why risk it? Plus, your money is no good sat in a casino account where you can’t play the games, is it?