Ladbrokes Coral has been fined £5.9 million for failing to protect vulnerable gamblers and prevent money laundering. The UK Gambling Commission conducted an investigation into the company and found a litany of regulation breaches between 2014 and 2017. In one case, Ladbrokes and Coral allowed a punter to lose £98,000 after he begged them to stop sending him offers. It also failed to help a customer that lost £1.5 million over the course of three years, despite the punter showing signs of addiction. The commission said the firm did not display enough social responsibility, and it also failed to stop money laundering. “These were systemic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable,” said the commission’s executive director, Richard Watson. GVC, which bought Ladbrokes Coral after the transgressions took place, must pay £4.8 million and divest £1.1 million gained from customers as a result of its failings.
Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment is set to report a dip in underlying earnings when it unveils its latest financial results on Wednesday. Last year the group reported half-year underlying earnings of £217 million, but is expected to have decreased to £193 million this time around. It is a result of tighter regulations in the UK and Ireland, plus investment in expanding in the US, where it owns the popular FanDuel brand. “Flutter has a great opportunity to maximise the value of its 58% share in its US business,” said Ivor Jones, analyst at Peel Hunt. “Strategically it is probably doing the right thing by investing. But the payback is uncertain and way in the future. Meanwhile 2019 is a dispiritingly tough year for the rest of the business.”
Paddy Power is continuing to invest in its Save Out Shirt campaign by launching a TV ad campaign. Last month, the Irish bookmaker caused a stir by sponsoring Huddersfield Town’s shirt with a giant sash that spelled out its name in large letters. It drew outrage, but it turned out to be another piece of stunt marketing from the firm’s notorious Department of Mischief. It has actually paid to “unsponsor” Huddersfield’s shirts this year, and it has since signed similar deals with Motherwell, Newport County, Southend United and Macclesfield Town. The new TV ad has football fans walking around with ridiculous names like Mr Softy, Guitar Airway and Bet Bet Bet Bet on their shirts, and a voiceover says: “Wouldn’t it be great if your footie shirt looked less like a billboard? That’s why Paddy Power have launched ‘Save Our Shirt’ where every team we sponsor, we’re unsponsoring and they won’t have our logo at all.” Michelle Spillane, Paddy Power’s brand marketing director, said: “The response to the campaign has been phenomenal and we are delighted to be launching the next phase of our campaign and hope it inspires others to join our quest to give a clean shirt back to the fans.”
Betway has ramped up its esports sponsorship by tying up a deal with successful Dota 2 team PSG.LGD. The team was formed as a partnership between esports outfit LGD and Ligue 1 football team PSG, and it finished second at The International last year. Betway has agreed a six-figure deal to sponsor the team, following on from deals with Ninjas in Pyjamas, League of Legends world champion Invictus, BIG, MIBR, ESL and the BLAST Pro Series. “Having already had plenty of success with sponsorship in esports, we are very excited to have signed a new partnership with PSG.LGD,” said Betway chief executive Anthony Werkman. “The PSG brand is incredibly strong around the world and their involvement in esports has already been extremely successful, notably their more recent move into DOTA 2 with LGD. The PSG.LGD team has celebrated some early victories on the DOTA 2 circuit and we can’t wait to be part of their future success.”