Ladbrokes, one of the leading UK bookmakers, has revealed that it has ceased its operations in Russia, Romania, Finland and Portugal due to changes in legislation. Although the decision already came into effect on Wednesday, 31st December, 2014, the bookmaker is giving customers from these countries until Monday, 12th January, 2015 to withdraw their funds and has promised to facilitate their requests.
Ladbrokes withdrew operations in several countries during last year and in October, 2014 pulled out of Canada, Switzerland, Hungary and Norway.
The bookmaker’s withdrawals made from the various countries have been due to the hardships related to regulation in the countries that they withdrew from. Ladbrokes withdrawal from Russia could, however, be tied to the state of the Russian ruble and the backlash on the economy in that country. Economists have predicted a recession in Russia for this year and further with the last two weeks seeing the Russian currency taking extended losses.
Ladbroke’s withdrawal from Romania is probably due to the Romanian government’s new online gaming laws which was passed recently which has raised the licensing fee for online casinos from RON 400,000 TO 448,000 (€100,000) per year.
The bookmaker’s withdrawal from Finland is due to the long and problematic history that it has with the Finnish government regarding their operation in the country. Several strong monopolies control the domestic gambling activity in the country, despite the European Commission decrees about Finland’s Lottery Act not conforming to EU guidelines.
Portugal’s new online gambling laws also threaten to impose high operating costs when it comes into effect this year.