Bookmaker news of week: Top companies to curb TV ads

By Martin Green09 December 2018
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The UK’s leading betting companies have voluntarily agreed to stop TV advertising during the majority of sporting contests. Bet365, Sky Bet, William Hill, Ladbrokes-Coral, Betfred, Paddy Power, Betfair, 888 Sport and other members of the Remote Gambling Association have agreed to the ban. It will cover all sporting matches apart from horseracing shown before 9pm in the UK. That means no more gambling ads during Premiership football matches, where Ray Winstone is a familiar presence as he touts Bet365’s odds. The move comes amid criticism from anti-gambling lobbyists about the prevalence of TV ads during the World Cup this summer, and could also be seen as a bid to head off action by regulators at a time when the industry is under increasing scrutiny. Shares in Ladbrokes-Coral owner GVC, Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill all fell by around 4% as a result of the news.

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright has greeted the news that gambling firms have agreed to a voluntary ban. “Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said. “It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling-related harm. Companies must be socially responsible.”

Sarah Hanratty, chief executive of the trade body the Senet Group, added: “It’s been clear for some time now that the volume and density of advertising and sponsorship messaging from gambling companies around live sport has become unsustainable. This is a welcome move from the leading industry operators who are taking the initiative to respond to public concern.”

William Hill

William Hill could be hearing from punters after admitting it failed to update its terms and conditions to how they pay out on races in Dubai. The British bookmaker switched last month to producing its own starting prices for Dubai races rather than those produced by SIS. But it did not update its displays, so some punters have been paid out at shorter odds than they should have enjoyed. William Hill said it will pay any punters the difference to ensure they do not lose out.

Unibet

Unibet has tied up a landmark deal with successful esports team Astralis to become its official betting partner. The two-year deal will give the betting site access to the image rights of Denmark’s Astralis, which has emerged as the most successful CS:GO team in the world this year by winning a number of big tournaments. Rhodri Darch, chief commercial officer at Unibet owner Kindred Group, said: “Esports has grown into a billion-dollar business with a fan base across all corners of the world. Astralis is the star of the CS:GO world, and we are very excited to join forces with the world’s number one team. It’s our ambition that the partnership will help Astralis become even more competitive and raise interest in the exiting world of esports.” Unibet is also poised to launch in New Jersey.

Betway

Betway has extended its sponsorship of Aintree Racecourse by confirming that it will support the Many Clouds Chase and the Grand Sefron Handicap. Spokesman Alan Alger said: “We’re delighted to be extending our sponsorship at Aintree where, for the past two seasons, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being the official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival. Aintree offers top quality racing throughout the jumps season and this Saturday’s Betway Many Clouds Chase and Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase are both brilliant contests.”