Smart TV Broadcasting Ltd has been issued an operator license suspension by the UK Gambling Commission, following an announcement by the UKGC that an internal review is underway, due to suspicion that Smart TV Broadcasting is “unsuitable to carry on licensed activities”.
While the exact specifics of Smart TV’s unsuitability were not yet disclosed, the ruling was based on Section 120(1) of the UK Gambling Act 2005 (Conditions of Suspension or Revocation), which calls for four possible conditions of suspension: 1) licensed activity is not consistent with licensing objectives; 2) licensing conditions have been breached; 3) operator has failed to cooperate with a review; or 4) operator is unsuitable to carry on licensed activities.
Taking a closer look at the UK Gambling Act, the fourth condition referenced above (being applied to Smart TV’s suspension) states that in considering a licensee’s “unsuitability”, it is in regard to three possible statuses being in question: The integrity of the licensee, the competency of the licensee, or the financial status of the licensee.
In other words, either Smart TV Broadcasting is engaging in shady business practices, is being negligent in its day-to-day operations, or, the company is going broke.
Judging by Smart TV’s prior track record, one would be led to believe that the latter scenario is taking place.
Furthermore, the UKGC has stated that the suspension is “interim”, and the “the need for which will be kept under consideration”, which most likely means, that Smart TV owes players or the UKGC itself outstanding payments, and when said payments have been received and accounts are funded suitably, the license suspension will most likely be removed.
In gauging Smart TV’s financial health – not to mention protecting players – the UKGC has ordered Smart TV to issue all payments to account holders. Apparently, some customers are still waiting on overdue payments. According to a UKGC press release, while there are reports of outstanding balances, “Regrettably (there is) no further information on the status of customer balances at this time”.
As mentioned, Smart TV has otherwise earned a solid reputation in the UK online gambling industry since going live in 2007. The company provides interactive TV online gambling services and operates seven websites (including GuruPlay.com), five of which now redirect to SmartLiveTV.net, where both RNG-based gambling and live dealer casino games can be played.
One domain, SmartLiveCasino.com is now offline, while SmartLiveSports.com is redirecting to SmartLiveGaming.com. Not surprisingly, the UKGC licensing badge has been removed from all Smart TV website properties.
Interestingly enough, however, a Malta Gaming Authority license badge is still being displayed on all web properties, although the license itself as stated on the MGA’s authorization website, is only active for GuruPlay.com and SmartLiveCasino.com – the former url now redirecting to a different property, and the latter url now offline entirely.
The Malta Gaming Authoriy has not returned OnlineGambling.org’s inquires as to the status of Smart TV’s license, and it is not yet known whether or not the UKGC has been in communication with the MGA.
What we do know is that the UKGC will not hesitate to issue a permanent license suspension, which in effect, would likely result in a suspension from the MGA. But, as the review is not complete, Smart TV still has a brief window to fix any outstanding issues. At any rate, damage control PR would be a smart move on Smart TV’s part if they want to remain competitive in the UK.