Britain’s largest bookmakers have announced plans to donate all profits from the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot to charity. The race takes place at 4.10pm on Thursday at the prestigious meeting, directly after the Gold Cup. Betting and Gaming Council members, including Paddy Power Betfair, Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, Sky Bet, Betway, BetVictor, Unibet owner Kindred Group, Grosvenor Sport, Virgin Bet, Fitzdares, Genting Bet and JenningsBet will hand over all profits to the Covid-19 relief fund and cancer charities. They have promised to donate at least £250,000 even if they do not make a profit on the race. “This is a tremendous gesture from so many of the powerhouses of the betting world,” said Alastair Warwick, chief operating officer at Ascot racecourse. It follows the Virtual Grand National in April, which saw the bookmakers raise nearly £3 million for NHS charities.
Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC has sparked another backlash after it handed its bosses share bonuses despite placing all 14,000 betting shop workers on furlough. Chief executive Kenny Alexander has been given shares currently worth £3.3million, while chief financial officer Rob Wood has been handed shares worth £1.4million. That drew criticism, as the firm has taken advantage of government support, with 14,000 staff having 80% of their wages paid under the furlough scheme. 'For a company to be relying on public finances to pay its workers’ wages, while handing out millions to its executives in bonuses flies in the face of what the general public expects from businesses at a time of national crisis,” said Andrew Speke at the High Pay Centre in an interview with This is Money. “Perhaps now is the time for government to make it clear that it will not tolerate such behaviour from companies using the scheme.”
William Hill US chief executive Joe Asher has written to all staff expressing support for the Black Lives Matter campaign. “The ensuing chaos in many parts of our country must not cloud what is clear: racism in any form is not acceptable and never can be condoned. We all have an obligation to call it out when we see it. I am proud of the inclusive and diverse culture we have here at William Hill, one that has never tolerated discrimination and one in which everyone is welcome, except those who hate. I pledge to you that William Hill will do what we can to support equality and racial justice in our country and that includes, but is not limited to, increasing our support of black-owned businesses and organizations dedicated to addressing this issue.”
Flutter Entertainment plans to reopen all of its Paddy Power betting shops across the UK from June 15. It will also reopen 150 of its stores in Ireland. It coincides with an easing of the coronavirus lockdown. Paddy Power said its shops will follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing. There will be hand sanitizers at the ready, customers will be encouraged to use pens just once, and contactless payment will be used where possible. “We’re asking everyone to do your bit to help ensure that we, you and the rest of the world starts getting back to normal as quickly – and safely – as possible,” said the firm.
British bookmaker Betfred will expand into Pennsylvania via a deal with Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem. The firm set up a US subsidiary in Las Vegas earlier this year and made a big splash by sponsoring the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. It has already launched in Iowa and Colorado, and now Pennsylvania will be the third state in which it is operational. It will run an online sportsbook on Wind Creek’s licence. There are currently nine online operators in Pennsylvania, including Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel and DraftKings, so Betfred faces stern competition.