Bookmaker News of the Week

By Martin Green12 May 2019
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Rhodri Giggs

William Hill stock plummeted to its lowest levels in a decade due to significant headwinds for the gambling industry. Shares in the bookmaker dipped to 142.70 this week, down from a 52-week high of 335.90 amid regulatory uncertainty, maximum stakes on FOBTs reducing to £2 and scrutiny from investors. Goldman Sachs predicted that the “rising regulatory burden” on the sector is “here to stay”. The firm also warned that the industry’s growth will steady as its markets mature while the boom in ethical investing could also pose a threat as funds review their stakes in the sector. William Hill has captured a strong position in the nascent US market and that could offset declines on the UK high street, while it is also pushing into more online markets after purchasing Mr Green.

A Paddy Power advert featuring Ryan Giggs’ cuckolded brother Rhodri has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ad showed the older Giggs sibling drinking Champagne and driving a sports car. He reveals in the ad that, unlike Ryan, he has always “lived a loyal life”, through activities such as always drinking at the same pub, going to the same gym and sticking with the same brand of tea bags, but that his fortunes had been transformed by becoming an “ambassador” for Paddy’s Reward Club. “Loyalty gets you nowhere, live for rewards instead,” he said. The ASA upheld five complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it glamorised gambling and suggested it was a way of achieving a good standard of living. It said the ad must not appear in its current format again. However, the ad has already run its course and gained a great deal of publicity, highlighting the flaws in the ASA’s system.

An Australian punter has wagered a cool $1 million on Bill Shorten winning the country’s general election on May 18. It represents the largest bet Ladbrokes has ever taken Down Under, vastly eclipsing the $370,000 bet on wondermare Winx earlier this year. Winx won a 33rd consecutive race before her record-breaking career wound down this year and the Aussie bettor is hoping for Shorten to prove similarly successful. The bet was placed at odds of $1.23 (23/100), so the punter stands to make a $230,000 profit if successful. Ladbrokes responded by tightening the odds on him to $1.20 (1/5).

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised everyone this week by calling their firstborn Archie. It was said to be one of the greatest shocks in betting history, as the name was priced at 100/1. Ladbrokes said it only took 60 bets on Archie and estimated that bookies would make more than $1 million as a result of the leftfield choice. The most popular choices at Coral were favourite Alexander and traditional names like Arthur and James. A spokesman from Coral said: “We only took a handful of bets on Archie so this has to go down as one of the biggest surprises in royal betting history, as it was a 100/1 outsider before the name was revealed.” The Duke and Duchess are now priced at 4/5 to have another child in 2020.

Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings, William Hill and Bet365 have topped the list of donations received by charity GambleAware in 2018/19. The charity said the industry missed the mandatory £10 million it was supposed to donate, but that those three handed over a combined amount of more than £3.3 million in 2018/19. Chief executive Marc Etches said: “At a time when GambleAware has moved to be completely independent of the gambling industry, it is encouraging that fundraising has reached a record £9.6 million in the last 12 months. This is still below the minimum of £10 million we had asked for but with the help of £7.3 million in regulatory settlements we are well placed to deliver our strategic priorities.”