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Evolution responds to illegal gambling claim

Evolution responds to illegal gambling claim

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Swedish online giant Evolution has suffered a rough few weeks, with allegations of illegal operating causing untold pain. But the company is fighting back, with CEO Martin Carlesund confirming that they have contacted relevant regulators and launched a full internal review of the claims. The price of Evolution shares went through the floor, falling more than 30% and reducing the company’s value by around US$11bn. The troubles began in mid-November, when a US lawyer, Ralph Marra, wrote to the New Jersey Division of Gaming claiming that Evolution was conducting business in countries that are currently subject to US sanctions, or where online gambling is illegal. These claims are reported to be based on research from private investigators hired by an unnamed business rival of Evolution’s. In his response, Mr Carlesund stated that the company sells its products to licensed casino operators only, and that it does not handle players’ money or screen them, adding that “it is the operator’s responsibility to comply with the regulation and their own licence.”

The Evolution view is that those behind the letter used an internet address from a non-banned country to enter Evolution’s gaming lobby and then made it appear as if the company was accepting business from markets subject to sanctions. The private investigators have disputed this defence, claiming that their research shows the full process of entering websites and playing and withdrawing from Evolution games. Mr Marra also claims that the company does business in countries that include Iran, Sudan and Syria. But Mr Carlesund described the methods used by the investigators as very questionable, adding: “I would not draw any conclusions about our culture based on that report.”