Evolution Sinks as Firm Starts Review of Illegal Gambling Claim

Updated by Giuseppe Faraone verified symbol on October 11, 2023

You don't need to look hard to find an Evolution casino online. This developer provides its games to some of the best live casino sites around the world. To many, it is the best at what it does, with many other brands looking up to it. Yet Evolution suffered a setback in November of 2021. An investigation into the company saw its share price plummet. One of the brand's competitors accused Evolution of doing business in restricted countries. The software developer reached out to regulators in New Jersey for help.

A U.S. law firm put forth accusations against Evolution. It said that the brand had been operating in countries like Iran. This was in direct violation of sanctions imposed by the USA. Senior counsel Ralph Marra submitted a letter to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Within this, it also highlighted Sudan and Syria as places where Evolution was conducting business. It even said that the Syrian President's family were players on an Evolution platform. Singapore and Hong Kong were also noted as restricted locations.

Un-Named Investor Behind the Claims

The accusations that Marra put forward weren't from him in specific. Instead, he was working for an un-named investor. Some believed that this was a competitor to Evolution in the U.S. market. 

Evolution games are already found at some of the world's biggest online casinos. There is little wonder that the company is worth around $33 billion. Yet news of the breaches saw an 8% fall in share value. Despite the 64% rise in Evolution's valuation for 2021, the share price drop wasn't good news.

In response to the claims, the head of investor relations for Evolution, Carl Linton, said: 

“Evolution strictly complies with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Yet Marra claimed to have recorded proof of the illegal activity. He highlighted that his investigators were able to gamble through an Iranian IP address.

It wasn't the first time a gambling company suffered accusations of this nature. The DraftKings brand, owned by SBTech, had to defend itself against a similar setup.

Hindenburg Research said that the company was working in illegal markets earlier on in 2021. That company provides its software to many of the best online gambling sites in the USA.

The Investigation Concluded in 2022

It took a few months to complete, but the investigation into Evolution concluded in April 2022. The brand chief said the business did not expect any "material impact" on its earnings. Evolution spoke of the allegations as being there only to discredit the business. The lawsuit wiped billions from the supplier's market capitalisation upon its announcement.

Evolution noted that it had worked "closely with regulators and operators." It said this occurred to support and provide tools that block play from certain areas. That includes those highlighted on the U.S. sanctions list.

Chief executive Martin Carlesund said that changes to some processes were on the horizon. Yet this wasn't a result of the accusations. At least, not in a direct way. While handing over any requested material, Evolution found various things it could improve. Thus, from the investigation process, Evolution was able to better itself. 

He maintained that the company has a good relationship with regulators worldwide. That's why its games are available at many top online casinos for real money in Europe. Yet it also operates in several other areas, including in licensed U.S. states. The Q1 results from 2022 suggested that Evolution had continued growing at a rapid pace. The acquisitions of Netent and Big Time Gaming have helped its RNG sector. Yet that has grown at a slower pace than the live dealer scene. 

Carlesund spoke of potential further mergers in the future for Evolution. He said that while it wasn't a huge priority, it wasn't something he was ruling out. Carlesund mentioned organic growth as the primary growth required.

“We are aiming and moving, and we want to be number one in online casinos in the world. We’re constantly looking at what could actually move us or enable us on that path”.

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Giuseppe Faraone
Author & Online Gambling Expert Giuseppe Faraone verified symbol
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Based in Valencia, Spain, Giuseppe gave up Milan for sunny shores. New licenses, new casinos, new bonuses, new games - there's always something to write about. Being so close to the action in the gambling industry, he's on top of any new developments the minute they come through the door. Aiming to deliver updates and comprehensive information to you, he does his best to test out and rate what he reviews thoroughly. Giuseppe is also a book writer. In October 2022, he published his first book called The Untold Story of Online Gambling, available on Amazon.
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