For a company with 9 different brands, and an estimated 5 million customers in the UK alone, it was a bit of a shock to hear that Intouch Games had fallen foul of the UKGC and had their license suspended.
As a British based company who made all of their own content, from slots and jackpots to their own bingo network, they were a breath of fresh air amongst a sea of other cheaper cookie cutter sites.
What makes the story of their closure even more bizarre, is that just a year before the license suspension, Intouch Games had been bought out by the Skywind Group, a larger organisation seeking a stronger presence in the UK market.
Skywind was also a business to business (B2B) company, so their takeover would represent Skywind’s first foray into the business to consumer marketplace, via Intouch’s casino and bingo brands.
Twelve months later, and it was all gone. So what happened?
UPDATE: InTouch Games Closing for Good
On the 8th September, all InTouch brands emailed their customers confirming that their bingo and casino sites would not be re-opening.
The sites will remain open for withdrawals and account management only until 6th March 2024, so there is plenty of time to withdraw any money you might have in there.
After this date, contact will need to be made via email to arrange the return of funds. The email to use will depend on the brand, but as an example it would be [email protected] – so [email protected] for example.
Skywind, the parent company of InTouch is unaffected and will continue to operate. They only bought InTouch Games in 2022, but historical failings from before the takeover have proved too much to overcome it seems.
Better for them to ditch the company and take a loss rather than suffer the hit to their reputation and their bottom line if they tried to keep InTouch running.
Why Intouch Games Bingo Network Closed
All companies operating in the gambling industry need a gambling license, and once they have one, they must conduct themselves in accordance with the rules.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) are in charge of issuing these licenses and monitoring everyone who has one to ensure that they are doing everything by the book, and if they are not, the UKGC steps in to take action.
This is what happened to Intouch Games.
From 2019 onwards they continued to fall short of the mark in the UKGC’s eyes, with several instances of anti money laundering and social responsibility failures being the chief concern, but by no means the only one.
Intouch Games were fined several times for these lapses, which is a common way the UKGC gives companies a slap on the wrist when they misbehave.
The fines they received were as follows:
- 2019 – £2.2 million
- 2021 – £3.4 million
- 2023 – £6.1 million
The fines increased in size because the license failures were consistent.
What’s crazy, is that once a company has been fined, the UKGC works closely with them to improve their practices and processes to avoid the situation occurring again. They also keep a closer eye on the company in the years that follow.
So for Intouch Games to get things so wrong time and time again really is a bad look.
Once can be explained by internal processes not being tight enough, or the UKGC’s own rules not being clear enough (and they were open to interpretation in certain areas for a time) – but 3 fines in 6 years if very difficult to explain away.
So this time around, things had to get more serious, which is why the UKGC suspended Intouch Games’ license with immediate effect, while they conducted a review/investigation into their operating practices.
Intouch Games Surrender Their License
You might be wondering why the company decided the close all of their sites since their license was only suspended.
Well, a license suspension is a pretty big deal, as while suspended, the company can’t make any money. This is obviously very problematic because the business still has huge costs.
A license suspension can last for months and months while an investigation takes place, and this, added to the fact that Intouch Games were now on very bad terms with the UKGC, left the operator in an impossible position.
In most cases, having a license suspended is the kiss of death for an online casino company, and that was certainly the case for Intouch Games.
Just days after the suspension announcement, a message appeared on all sites operated by Intouch Games saying:
We regret to inform you that we have taken the difficult decision to surrender our licence with immediate effect and you will no longer be able to deposit and use our services.
Please be assured that any outstanding balances on your account will remain protected and available to be withdrawn in accordance with our terms and conditions.
You can find further details of how to withdraw your funds by logging in to your account. If you have any queries relating to our surrender you can direct these to our customer support team by using the Support section of the website.
The key thing here is the word, ‘surrendered’. This means Intouch Games threw in the towel, basically.
They knew they wouldn’t survive the review, and that even if they did the UKGC would be all over them with more fines, so they chose to close.
The Skywind Group will probably salvage what they can and repurpose or repackage it, but otherwise, they will take the hit and move on.
What About the Casino and Bingo Brands?
All the brands owned by an operating company run using the same gambling license, so if Intouch Games lose their license, all of their brands do too.
This means all of their casino sites had to close, and so did their bingo network.
So if you were wondering what happened to brands like mFortune, Pocketwin, Dr Slot, Casino 2020, Bonus Boss, Cashmo, Mr Spin, Jammy Monkey, and Slot Factory, now you know.
It’s a shame, because while the reputation of Intouch Games might have gone up in flames, their product was good, especially their bingo network which was enjoyed by loads of people every week.
There is always the potential for the brands or the bingo network to be sold on to a different operating company, this is something that has happened in the past, but if that doesn’t happen, those brands will simply cease to exist.
Not only that, but all of Intouch Games’ unique in-house slots and bingo games will disappear too, which is not a good outcome for players since they were only available via Intouch Games’ brands.
That said, The Skywind Group could find a way to incorporate them into their offering elsewhere, maybe even start a few brands of their own, but whether or not that will be possible remains to be seen.