Betfred boss Fred Done has sparked controversy by pocketing a £10.2 million dividend at a time when several staff face being laid off. Betfred posted a pre-tax loss of £18.1 million for the year-ended 24 September 2017, down from a pre-tax profit of £32.4 million the previous year. The picture could yet grow bleaker for the company, as Done warned he may have to axe up to 4,500 workers because of a government crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals. The minimum stake is set to be reduced from £100 to just £2 per spin on virtual roulette machines, which would force the closure of several land-based betting shops. But Done, who founded the chain with his brother Peter in 1967, topped up his £1.4 billion fortune with a handsome payout. Read The Times for more.
William Hill has been accused of trying to “milk” its customers before new legislation reducing the maximum spin to £2 comes into force. It sent a letter to all staff encouraging them to make customers aware that they could still bet up to £100 a spin on its machines, drawing criticism from some quarters. But despite potential struggles in the UK land-based sector, William Hill’s terrific strategic position in the US, where legalised sports betting is being rolled out, makes it a great candidate for investment from anyone playing the stock market, according to Questor.
Gaming software giant Playtech has inched closer to its proposed takeover of rival Snaitech after Italy’s financial markets regulator gave the deal the green light this week. The deal is worth £741 million and it solidifies Playtech’s position in a rapidly consolidating marketplace. Mor Weizer, chief executive of Playtech, said: “The acquisition of Snaitech represents the continuation of our strategy to invest in leading retail brands in fast growing, regulated markets. The acquisition delivers the Board’s strategic objective to improve the quality and diversification of Group revenue, whilst delivering exposure to high growth end markets, by utilising the strength of Playtech’s balance sheet.” Check out Playtech’s website for more details on the initial announcement.
World Cup fever has combined with China’s growing love of wagering to drive sports betting in the communist state to a projected record 50 billion yuan this year. But the ruling Communist Party is not happy about this development and it is planning a crackdown, as the Australian Financial News revels.
The UK Gambling Commission has unveiled plans to protect children from the dangers of gambling. It aims to address access and exposure to gambling by children and young people digital and online risks, preventative education and treatment and evidence collection and consumer engagement. Tim Miller, an Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, said: “We asked our expert advisers, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, to consider this critical theme. The advice helps us to refocus and reinforce what we are doing already, and what we need to do next. For example, this year we will be carrying out targeted compliance and enforcement activity to identify and tackle any weaknesses in the age verification processes. Safeguarding children in a digital age is complex, and what both RGSB and our research has highlighted is that it takes a multi-faceted approach by us, government, educators, gambling firms and parents. It will take firm ongoing commitments from the Commission as gambling regulator, but also from all of those with a part to play.” Read more on the commission’s website.