British MPs have demanded that gambling is treated like tobacco and said that ads should come with health warnings about addiction. You cannot watch a football match without seeing various ads for bookmakers, and they are often colourful, humorous and entertaining. But a cross-party group of MPs, which includes shadow culture secretary Tom Watson and former Tory minister John Hayes, states that the current regime of self-regulation by the bookies is not working. It says that rules around betting ads are being flouted by the gambling industry, claiming that loopholes in the law mean they are doing so “without fear of meaningful sanction”. The Guardian has more on this.
Doctors have warned that dealing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is a form of gambling and that it can “spiral out of control”. Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University, said the addictions were “a sub-type of online day-trading addiction. I see these as akin to a gambling addiction”. Read The Sun for more.
Richard Flint, chief executive at Sky Bet, has written an interesting comment piece in The Telegraph, in which he said he welcomes tighter regulation of the online sports betting industry. “All online gambling is account based and therefore operators know who their customers are. It is incumbent on operators now to act and put in place measures that protect their customers,” he said. “If I am brutally honest, this is an area where the betting industry has not historically covered itself in glory. We can and should do more.”
Belgium’s Ardent Group is planning to launch in Switzerland after snapping up a 44% stake in Swiss casino operator Stadtcasino Baden AG. Ardent already operates in Portugal, Spain and Colombia, and it is increasing its footprint across the globe. Read more here.
Paddy Power Betfair purchased Daily Fantasy Sports operator FanDuel to create the “largest online business” in the US gambling industry. DFS sites have been popular in lieu of legalised sports betting in the US, but they have also started to expand into Europe. It is evidence of further consolidation in the gambling industry. Paddy Power Betfair will throw in its existing US assets worth $612m along with $158m of cash to take a 61% stake in the combined business. Existing FanDuel investors will own 39% and it will operate as a subsidiary, run by the head office in Dublin. Read the BBC for more on this.
Swedish bookmaker Cherry AB has fired chief executive Anders Holmgren after he was arrested on suspicion of insider trading. Gunnar Lind, who ran the group from 2006 to 2011, is acting chief executive and will remain in this position until a permanent chief executive is appointed. The company’s press release is here.