The Ongoing Saga of Metro Play Limited The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) recently suspended all operations of Metro Play Limited and one of its sites, the ominously named 666Bet, while it came under review by the Commission. Initially they gave a somewhat vague reason for why it was being suspended. Namely that it was doing things “in a manner which is inconsistent with licensing objectives,” that they were breaching one of the terms of their license, that they had been uncooperative with reviews by the UKGC and AGCC, and that they were simply “unsuitable.” The UKGC said that during the review process, 666Bet was to pay out any winnings to gamblers and return any outstanding balances to their customers. Initially it was thought to be a fraud investigation. This line of thinking was due to the fact that one of Metro Play Limited’s directors, Paul Bell, was arrested, along with six others, in a huge case of fraud and money laundering. In this case, the authorities were looking for nearly €21m ($23.5m) and had seized €1m ($1.1m) in the large-scale sting operation that included Britain, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. After the operation and the suspension were carried out, and the review started, the company went to Facebook to state that it was seeking approval from the UKGC to re-open the site and parent company so that customers would be able to access accounts and collect their winnings and balances. The UKGC released a statement regarding 666Bet’s Facebook post that reiterated the company was required to find a way to settle winnings and balances with customers. 666Bet again went to Facebook and stated they were not told they were required to find a way to return the money and that they were not able to return the funds if they were unable to get online to do so. They then stated that they were in talks with third-party providers to get customers what they were owed and that all other third-party providers decided to suspend or cancel their contracts in the wake of the UKGC review. Following that Facebook post, 666Bet stated they were in talks with both the UKGC and an unnamed third-party provider but that neither had contacted them back. After this revelation, customers had actually started an online petition to get their funds back. Now it has been revealed that 666Bet is going to use Skrill to process withdrawals and that the public may withdrawal their winnings and balances immediately but noted that the withdrawal process may take longer than expected due to the high volume. Some customers said they were unable to use Skrill due to the fact that they have pending cashouts already processing from before the site went down. The site has not responded to these claims as of yet but blamed the long wait on the press stating that the reports on the site made it more difficult to find a reputable third-party provider that would work with them amid the controversy. 666Bet still does not have an operating license and the UKGC has revealed why the site has been suspended, implying that it was, in fact, due to the massive fraud and money laundering operation that landed Paul Bell in jail. The Wide-Reaching Effects of China’s Gambling Legislation Back in February of last year Macau’s future was all sunshine and rainbows. A feature in the James Bond hit Skyfall, a significant raise in revenue, and the status as one of the biggest gambling hotspots in the world. Macau was a hub for the elite who wanted, and could afford to, hold the chips and play in the hustle and bustle of a real casino, rather than just gambling at home online. All of that came to a halt when China began a wide-reaching crackdown on corruption which landed quite a few of Macau’s high rollers in jail and others fleeing to other jet setting destinations to gamble elsewhere, lest they be mistakenly (or fairly) incriminated as well. Macau’s economy tanked, dropping by nearly 20% in the fourth quarter of 2014. That economic downturn for the casinos simply got worse, hitting record lows in February. Development suddenly stopped, as did international tourism, even from tourists not from mainland China. Jobs were eliminated. All of the signs of economic turmoil began to fall into place. One of the hardest hit was Wynn Resorts, taking a hit of €40m ($44m) in Q1. Compare that to the nearly €205m ($227m) profit that they were raking in just one year ago. Steve Wynn’s Wynn Palace hotel is one of the many projects that has been halted or cancelled in recent months. Initially scheduled for an early 2016 opening, the future is a bit uncertain. This along with lagging tourism and Macau’s reliance on tourism and its casino industry can mean a long and difficult time for Macau’s future.