Bookmaker News of the Week

By Martin Green09 June 2019
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Bet365 is expected to move around 500 employees from Gibraltar to Malta as a result of fears over the impacts of Brexit. The Stoke-based operator is worried about the fallout of the UK leaving the EU and it has decided to leave the British territory in favour of Malta. The Times of Malta reports that it will transfer as many staff as possible over the next six months and anyone not keen on moving will have to find a new job. “Obviously, not all employees, especially those who have families, will choose to come to Malta because some would not like to make that move,” said a source at the company. “They will either have to leave their job or try to find an alternative in Gibraltar.” Bet Victor, Rank Group and Lottoland reaffirmed their commitment to Gibraltar in the wake of the news. “We continue to be one of the fastest growing businesses in Gibraltar and Europe and are rock solid in our position that Gibraltar remains the best jurisdiction in the world to run our business,” said Lottoland chief executive Nigel Birrell.

GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander’s decision to take a voluntary pay cut was not enough to prevent an investor revolt at the Ladbrokes, Coral and Bwin owner. More than 40% of shareholders in the group have rejected the firm’s 2018 pay report. It was published last month and it revealed that Alexander had been paid £19.1 million last year, including £16.4 million in “legacy awards” relating to the 2016 purchase of Bwin. Investors were already riled by the decision of Alexander and chairman Lee Feldman to sell off significant holdings, a move that sent the group’s share price plummeting, and Alexander greed to take a £150,000 cut in his basic salary to £800,000 in order to calm their anger. Investors said the cut was not enough. Jane Anscombe, chair of GVC's remuneration committee, said the committee was “naturally disappointed” with the vote. “We understand that some shareholders ultimately felt unable to support the remuneration report, in part due to our legacy arrangements, which going forward no longer form part of our remuneration framework,” she added.

888 Holdings enjoyed 29% growth in sports betting revenues between January 1 and May 18, 2019. Its casino arm also increased revenue by 13% to contribute to a strong start to the year for the operator. Poker was down significantly, but overall the group recorded 6% growth and it is likely to ramp up its focus on 888 Sport going forward. “888 has enjoyed a solid start to the year with strong momentum in Casino and Sport across a number of the group’s major regulated markets,” said chief executive Itai Pazner. “Whilst Poker has remained challenging, we were pleased to see an improving revenue trend in Q1 2019 against Q4 2018. In addition, we are very encouraged by a 20 per cent increase in first-time depositors across the group’s B2C business in the period. This reflects 888’s outstanding marketing capabilities and is a key indicator of our growth prospects.”

William Hill and Flutter Entertainment have applied for licenses to launch in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires. They would need to have land-based operations in the area, so they must tie up partnerships with local operators. Flutter Entertainment has just rebranded from Paddy Power Betfair to reflect the group’s diverse range of brands, which also includes FanDuel. The FanDuel Sportsbook is thriving in the US, but it suffered a blow this week when Illinois slapped it with a “bad actor” clause. The state is poised to legalise sports betting, but FanDuel and DraftKings – the two most popular sportsbooks in New Jersey – are banned from launching for the first 18 months due to perceived irregularities when offering daily fantasy sports in the state.