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Address of Betvictor Limited

Request

I would like to the know the UK correspondence address of Betvictor Limited, license number 39576. Providing a UK correspondence address is a requirement of their UK license. I have asked them for this directly but they are refusing to communicate.

Response

Dear Sir

I am writing to you following notification from the ICO that the Gambling Commission has failed to comply with section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and respond to a request you submitted.

Following a search of our records, I can confirm that the request in question was made on Friday 7 January 2022. Not responding to your request was due to a processing error which we are now working to rectify. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

In your email you have referenced BetVictor, who following a Gambling Commission investigation will pay a total of £2m due to social responsibility, and money laundering failures.

Specifically, you requested:

  • details of the notification they (Betvictor) have made to you (The Gambling Commission)
  • the details of the divestment they have made to charity
  • details of any investigation the gambling commission has made into this issue
  • the Gambling Commission is a regulatory body with licensing, compliance and enforcement functions. Through our regulatory enforcement activity, the Commission aims to protect consumers and the wider public, and to raise standards in the gambling industry. We release details of our enforcement activity through public statements which can be found on our website.

BV Gaming Limited Public Statement - Gambling Commission

When publishing details of the Commission’s work, we take care to present as much information as possible to ensure that lessons can be learned by operators and that the public are assured that the Commission is carrying out its functions in ensuring that any individuals who are involved in providing gambling facilities will uphold the licensing objectives.

However, we must also be careful not to reveal any information that could hinder our ability to conduct investigations or ongoing compliance activities. As such, the Commission does not ordinarily disclose further details of information generated during compliance or investigatory work.

I can confirm that the Commission does hold specific information falling within the scope of your request. However, we are of the view that due to its detailed nature relating to specific operators, this information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 of the FOIA and therefore will not be released.

31(1) provides that Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice –

(g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2)

The relevant purposes referred to subsection (2) are –

a) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law, b) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper, c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise, d) the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on

Under section 31 it is necessary that I consider a public interest test to identify whether there is a wider public interest in disclosing this information as opposed to maintaining the exemption.

It is recognised that there is a legitimate public interest in promoting accountability and transparency of public authorities. Further to this, the importance of having sufficient information in the public domain to support consumers with their choice of operator. Public disclosure of this information may also, by way of demonstrating our proactive work in this area, discourage unlawful activities being pursued.

However, disclosure of the requested information may prejudice the outcome of this and or any future investigation by the Commission, or another body by exposing investigative techniques and practices to the detriment of the public interest.

Providing information which makes specific individuals or events identifiable may deter stakeholders or other sources of information from sharing important information with us or other law enforcement agencies.

Ultimately, providing this information would impede the Commission’s ability to fulfil its statutory functions in the most efficient way possible, to the detriment of the public interest. As such, we are minded that this information is exempt from disclosure.

When searching the Gambling Commission records, to identify and retrieve the above request, it was brought to our attention that another request made by yourself had not been responded to. Please also accept our apologies for this oversight.

This request was made on Sunday 19 September 2021. In your email you have requested the UK correspondence address of Betvictor Limited, license number 39576.

Details of the names of all companies who hold, or have applied for, operating licences in Great Britain are published on our website. The address published is the ‘principal’ address which has been provided by the operator as part of the application process, with the knowledge that this address will be made publicly available.

Any information that we hold relating to any other address information of an operator, which has not been made public, has been provided with the expectation that this information will not be disclosed to the public.

The Commission requires licence applicants to make full and candid submissions both at application stage and throughout the life of the licence. We provide assurance that we will respect the confidentiality of commercial information that we are provided with, subject to the public interest in disclosure.

Operational addresses which are not made public by the operator are treated as being provided in confidence, as part of the application. The application form expressly states that information provided will be treated in confidence (subject to FOIA and other legislative requirements) so there is a legitimate expectation that such information will be treated accordingly.

Disclosure of such information would be likely to impact on the voluntary supply of information from the operator in question and potentially other operators also.

Section 31(1) provides that Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice –

(g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2)

The relevant purpose referred to subsection (2) are –

(d) the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become authorised to carry on.

We recognise that there is a legitimate public interest in promoting the accountability and transparency of the Commission and the importance of having sufficient information in the public domain to support consumers with their choice of operator.

There is an expectation of confidence in much of the Commission’s work, particularly with regards to information it asks for to not only ascertain if a licence should be granted but also the tools and techniques the Commission utilises as part of this process. It is the impact on this work of the Commission which is more likely to be affected by disclosure.

Releasing this information would undermine our relationship with operators as the information that they provide to us as part of the application process is done so on the understanding that this will not be released into the public domain. If this information was disclosed, it would damage the relationship that we have formed with operators which would result in them being less likely to share information with us in the future which would undermine our regulatory functions and, as a consequence, have a detrimental impact on the wider public.

Establishing trust with operators is key to having open and frank exchanges and this, in turn, will make operators more inclined to provide commercially sensitive information on the basis it is trusted to be kept with appropriate safeguards.

Disclosing the requested information without sufficient rationale would undermine this trust and make operators less likely to cooperate fully in the future. The Commission considers that if it were to be in a situation in the future where it must use its formal powers to compel the provision of information then this information, provided under compulsion, would be of a different and arguably less satisfactory quality than if information was voluntarily supplied.

Having considered the arguments for and against disclosure of the requested information, the Commission’s view is that the public interest is best served through maintaining this exemption. Disclosure would be likely to discourage operators from being open and honest with us and may also frustrate our regulatory objectives which could lead to a less compliant industry overall.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B2 4BP

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