£2.2 million fine for Paddy Power & the rest of the week's top industry news

By Martin Green17 October 2018
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£2.2 million fine for Paddy Power & the rest of the week's top industry news

Boyle Sports has written to staff telling them that their jobs are at risk after the Irish government decided to increase its betting tax rate from 1% to 2%. Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker is reviewing all of its land-based sites after the measure was announced, although it promised it would do all it could to convince the government to scrap the planned tax increase. “We are committed to making government and all relevant agencies understand the impact this poorly-considered policy will have on the sector, our business, us and our families,” said a letter to Boyle Sports staff. “We will take all steps available to safeguard our business, our industry and most importantly the employment of all our people.” Read more at the Irish Independent.

Paddy Power Betfair has been hit with a £2.2 million fine for failing to protect customers and allowing stolen money to be wagered. The UK Gambling Commission found that the bookmaker fell short on talking with customers that showed signs of problem gambling and on carrying out anti-money laundering checks. The watchdog’s investigation focused on five customers in 2016, including one punter that used stolen money to bet with. The group must pay the £500,000 it received from the gamblers to charities and for legal costs, and £1.7 million fine will go towards GambleAware’s work on promoting responsible gambling. “As a result of Paddy Power Betfair’s failings, significant amounts of stolen money flowed through their exchange and this is simply not acceptable,” said the commission’s executive director, Richard Watson. “Operators have a duty to all of their customers to seek to prevent the proceeds of crime from being used in gambling. These failings all stem from one simple principle: operators must know their customer. If they know their customer and ask the right questions then they place themselves in a strong position to meet their anti-money-laundering and social responsibility obligations.” Read The Guardian for more.

Bet Victor is sponsoring snooker’s English Open, which just got underway this week and runs until October 21 in Crawley, West Sussex. “Over the last few years, snooker has grown in popularity at an astonishing rate as it continues to gain international relevance,” said Matt Scarrott, director of sportsbook at the firm. “At BetVictor, we’ve been following the sport for quite some time, having previously sponsored the Welsh Open for four years, and partnering with World Snooker once again will allow us to expand our footprint into this growing global market.” Read Sports Business for more. However, the English Open has suffered some negative publicity after defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan complained the venue is a hellhole that smells of urine.

The board at Sky Bet has been overhauled after Stars Group completed a £3.4 billion takeover of the British bookmaker. Former chief executive Richard Flint has been appointed executive chairman and Conor Grant has been named chief operating officer. “I am confident that the new management structure, which includes an operational board for SBG, will allow us to maintain our unique culture that has delivered success over the years and continue delivering market share gains in the UK online betting and gaming market, building on our position as the UK's most popular online betting brand,” said Flint. Insider Media has more on this.

Penn National Gaming has completed its acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment in a $2.8bn cash-plus-stock deal. The group expects to save $100m a year expect to generate further “revenue synergies” through monetising the database, cross-marketing, sports wagering and “further leveraging our social gaming platform”. Check out the Las Vegas Review Journal for more.