Matchbook could miss out on lucrative festival money-spinner

The UK platform of the Matchbook Exchange may not be back operational in time for next month’s Cheltenham Festival after its licence was suspended on Tuesday by the Gambling Commission (GC).

While Matchbook continues to operate in other jurisdictions with only its UK licence impacted, the firm faces the prospect of potentially missing out on a portion of the estimated £380 million (€455m) bet across the industry over the course of the festival.

A spokesperson for Triplebet Limited, the owner of Matchbook, said on Wednesday that it was hoping to be able to return to business “within weeks rather than months”, but was unable to specify an exact timeframe or whether the Cheltenham Festival was a target.

On Monday, customers of Matchbook received an email informing them the GC had “temporarily suspended” the licence of Triplebet, but that it would “continue to settle all open positions” and users would “have access to [their] account to withdraw funds”.

The Racing Post understands Matchbook received the conclusions of the GC’s two-year investigation into Triplebet only on Monday morning, with no opportunity to remedy the findings prior to the licence being suspended.

Triplebet on Tuesday said in a statement that it “accepts the UKGC panel’s findings”, which are understood to centre around anti money laundering and customer care policies, including fair treatment for users of the exchange.

In order to satisfy the GC, Triplebet have established a Compliance Committee, created a new Responsible Gambling algorithm and instituted anti money laundering and problem gambling training for its staff. 

Tuesday’s statement added: “Last year Triplebet engaged a third-party compliance specialist in order to elevate its standard of compliance beyond what is required by the UKGC. Over the coming weeks these recommendations will be completed in full, and an independent audit will be carried out with a view to the licence being reinstated.”

No timescale on Matchbook’s return was offered on Wednesday by the GC, which added it had no further comment to a statement issued on Tuesday, in which a spokesperson said: "As part of a licence review, the commission has taken the decision to suspend the licence of Triplebet with immediate effect. Further information will be available in due course.”