Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings will begin the search for a new chairman as incumbent Lee Feldman prepares to depart the firm. He and chief executive Kenny Alexander angered investors this month when they sold shares for a combined sum of almost £20 million. Alexander sold 2.1 million of his 2.7 million shares at a discounted price of £13.7 million, just days after claiming at its full-year results briefing that the company was “significantly undervalued”. Feldman, who has been with the firm since 2004, earned just under £6 million by selling 900,000 shares. GVC was forced to deny that his departure is due to the sale that sunk the firm’s share price, claiming it has long been planned. GVC fell out of the FTSE 100 index this month due to the government’s actions around FOBTs and the sale by Alexander and Feldman. It is now ramping up the search for his successor. “We shot ourselves in the foot,” an insider told The Times regarding the announcement of the share sales. “The way it was dealt with was very cackhanded and we rightly got a beating.”
Betway is making a continued play for the lucrative esports market, as betting on competitive gaming is tipped to be worth $23.5 billion by 2020. The bookmaker has announced a a new one-year sponsorship deal with BLAST Pro Series, which will span eight events around the globe over the course of the year. The deal includes the option for another year and it will see Betway branding at the CS:GO events around the world. Paul Adkins, marketing and operations director at Betway, said: “BLAST Pro Series is one of the most exciting tournaments on the calendar; you only have to look at the reaction of the fans – both in stadium and online – to last year’s edition to confirm this. With events in the series being held all across the world, we can’t wait to reach even more fans than ever before.”
Paddy Power has brought in former Man Utd star Eric Cantona for a new marketing campaign around Brexit. The Frenchman has created a video that encourages Brits to “escape from the carnage” of Brexit. It sees him mock Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, discuss David Cameron’s apparent love of pigs and recreate Theresa May’s infamous dance moves. “Brexit is like Boris Johnson’s hair, he’s the only one who doesn’t think it’s a complete disaster,” said Cantona, posing by a specially created Brexit bunker. “Here, one specially selected Brit can take shelter from the constant bombardment of Brexit chatter, thanks to Cantona and Paddy Power.”
888 has promoted Naama Kushnir to chief operating officer after spending 11 years with the firm. She will report directly to new chief executive Itai Pazner, who said: “Naama is a highly skilled, respected and experienced operator and I have every confidence that, alongside the rest of the operational management team, she will continue to drive 888’s growth and promote our company culture, vision and values in her new role.”
The Irish gambling industry could be forced to fund a watchdog that has the power to impose large fines if they breach strict new laws. Junior justice minister David Stanton this week announced a new scheme to reform the country’s gambling laws. It could be in place by 2020 and it is likely to be similar to the UK Gambling Commission. The regulator would oversee online and land-based gaming, while monitoring ads, promotions and sponsorships. It would also enforce compliance via on-site inspections. Fees from bookmakers would fund a fund focusing on problem gambling. There are also protections for at-risk problem gamblers among the recommendations from Stanton’s team.