Bookmaker News Of The Week

By Martin Green31 March 2019
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Conor McGregor

GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander has vowed not to sell any more shares in the business after drawing criticism from investors. He dumped 2 million shares on March 8 and that caused the share price of the Ladbrokes Coral and Bwin owner to slump by 18%. He has since been given another 450,000 shares in the business, taking his holding back up to 1.7 million shares, and he has promised to hold onto them. He said: “I remain totally committed to GVC for the long term, and as such I will not sell any further shares in GVC while I am CEO. We have had an excellent start to the year and I look forward to updating on progress in our Q1 trading update on April 5, 2019 and at the Capital Markets Day on May 16, 2019.”

Investors have also been assured that Alexander has committed his long-term future to the business. Investment director Russ Mould, of stockbroking advisor AJ Bell, said: “The two directors [the outgoing chairman also sold shares] have pledged not to sell any more while they ‘continue’ at GVC. Investors may have read that statement as implying the pair aren’t going to be around that long. Mr. Alexander reassures that he is ‘here for the long term’ because his current plan will take at least three years to accomplish. The market is clearly confused as to why the pair have decided to sell down now if there is still value to be created.”

William Hill has asked its landlords to slash rent costs by 50% to offset revenue declines that will arise from the government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2. The firm wrote an open letter to around 2,000 landlords this week, stating: “The change in regulations will mean that many shops will see costs rise significantly at a time when revenues will decline by in excess of 50% in many cases. We are therefore asking all our landlords to help us maintain our position at William Hill as the leading gambling operator on the high street so that our shops can continue to offer a great service to our customers and help maintain the viability of our high streets. We can’t afford to wait for things to happen as this will simply result in the creeping closure of more and more shops.” It told the Guardian that it hopes landlords will find a shop paying a lower level of rent better than an empty shop.

Conor McGregor has announced his retirement from UFC, but Paddy Power has taken it with a pinch of salt and it is offering 2/5 on The Notorious fighting again in 2019. It also has 15/8 on him fighting another professional boxing match after his defeat to Floyd Mayweather, and even money on him appearing at Wrestlemania 35. A A spokesman for Paddy Power said: “I’m not saying that McGregor is full of bluster, but we’re definitely expecting the return of the Mc some time very soon. I really do hope, though, that it’s via a brief sojourn in WWE. And then one big send-off UFC bout, ideally in Dublin.” McGregor is also 33/1 to have a number one single in the UK and 150/1 to go on and win an Oscar.

BetVictor has agreed to reinstate ante-post wagers placed at BetBright before the business was sold to 888. BetBright originally chose to refund all ante-post bets, a move that drew complaints but received the backing of the Gambling Commission. 888 subsequently announced it would honour ante-post bets on the Cheltenham Festival as a goodwill gesture, but that all other bets would be voided. Now Bet Bright founder Rich Ricci has secured a commitment from BetVictor to step in and take on those wagers. Matt Scarrott, the director of BetVictor’s sportsbook, said: “We’re happy to be supporting Rich to address this situation, enabling former BetBright punters to reinstate their ante-post bets via our BetVictor betting platform. We’ll make the process as simple and frictionless as possible to provide customers with an enjoyable betting experience with us.”