Bookmaker news of week: maximum stakes updates

By Bookmakers Review19 November 2018
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The anti-gambling lobby is demanding a reduction to the “ridiculous” maximum stakes for online casinos. The UK government has just passed a law that will bring the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in betting shops from £100 to £2 per spin of the virtual roulette wheel. But there are no maximum stakes online, where maximum stakes can go up to £10,000, and campaigners are calling for similar restrictions. The Gambling Commission said: “We are not currently calling for stakes to be reviewed online. Online gambling tracks players’ activity and behaviour which means that operators have much more information available to them to detect signs of gambling-related harm. We have very clear requirements for all operators to use that data to protect customers.” The Times has more on this.

The reduction in maximum wagers on FOBTs was not due to come into force until October, but a Commons rebellion has forced the government to bring it forward to April. Tracey Crouch resigned as sports minister over the delay, and several other Conservative MPs set out to sabotage Treasury plans to keep the £100 maximum stake until October. The reduction in maximum stake will lead to shop closures and job losses, but the news allowed Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC to dodge a £700 million bullet. When the operator acquired Ladbrokes Coral for £3.2 billion in March, its offer included an extra amount contingent on the timing and scale of the cut in the stake, which had not yet been decided. It was expecting to pay £700 million to former Ladbrokes Coral shareholders, but it will no longer have to now that the reduction is coming into effect earlier. Shares of GVC rose 5.6% after the news and The Times goes into greater detail on this.

William Hill has appointed Phil Walker as the new managing director of its UK & Ireland online gambling operations, replacing the outgoing Grant Williams. Walker was previously chief operating officer for the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, and he has previously served as managing director of sports brands at Ladbrokes Coral. It also has appointed industry veteran Charlotte Emery as global brand and marketing director. “William Hill is a great business with great opportunities ahead of it and I’m looking forward to making my contribution to the long term growth plans the business has embarked on,” she said. William Hill is in talks with several staff about redundancies as a result of the FOBT stake reduction.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is facing punishment by the Football Association after his cousin placed a £10,000 bet on him moving to Inter Milan. He has been charged with breaching gambling rules. He was 17/10 at the time to join Inter, but instead he went on loan to West Brom and another family member is said to have placed a significant wager on that outcome. The Sun has quotes from sources detailing the saga: “A cousin placed a lot of money on a bet that he would move from Liverpool to Inter Milan. It seems he thought another relative was sharing the cost of the stake with him, so when Sturridge pulled out of a move to Inter Milan at the last moment, it is alleged that not everyone got the message. After it fell through, he needed to get proof to show another relative that he had spent £10,000 at the bookies on placing the bet. It sparked a flurry of frantic communications between the family member and Paddy Power over email. He wanted an email to prove he had placed the bet for £10,000. Obviously that alerted bookies to what had gone on.”

A punter has won £39,130 by successfully pulling off a 14-team accumulator on English and Scottish football. He backed Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, Blackburn, Brentford, Derby, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Sunderland, Lincoln, Stevenage, Tranmere, Celtic and Motherwell all to win, with a £5 stake. Nick Lavranos, from Stevenage, said: “I was in Betfred for about half an hour. I picked out some bankers and then went on my knowledge – a lot of the teams were favourites. Stevenage left it late and West Ham were drawing at the interval. The results were all going my way and that’s when I decided to turn the TV off and make myself a cup of tea.” The Comet has the full story.