Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment has announced plans to stop accepting credit card payments from customers in Ireland from the beginning of April. The firm, which also owns Betfair and Sky Bet, said “single digit per cent” of its customers use credit cards to bet at its sites. However, it can be dangerous for bettors to use credit cards when gambling, as it can lead to debts, so Flutter has decided to ban them.
In the UK, strict new affordability checks could be introduced as part of a potential new mandate from industry watchdog the Gambling Commission. It wants operators to carry out checks in customers that lose £100 or more over the space of a month. If implemented, it could have a significant impact on Flutter Entertainment and some of its competitors.
“Operators are supposed to do them anyway, but they only do them where someone has lost tens of thousands,” said Matt Zarb-Cousin, co-founder of Gamban, which has developed digital aids for problem gamblers. “If you look at data on disposable income, £100 is probably about right.”
Flutter chairman Ian Proctor urged the UK Gambling Commission to adopt a three-pronged approach involving financial red flags, monitoring clients through safer gaming controls and also imposing a spending backstop on the “rare occasions” in which the first two steps have missed something.
Ladbrokes owner Entain has mounted a A$3 billion (£1.7 billion) bid for the wagering and media business of Australian market leader Tabcorp. The board is considering the all-cash bid, but it is said to be holding out for A$3.5 billion.
Entain said the bid is in line with the market value of that side of the Tabcorp business, but Tabcorp shareholders will be keen to secure a premium. The firm has just released its first-half results for fiscal 2021, reporting a 1.5% decline in revenues to A$2.87 billion. That is a pretty strong performance during a challenging trading environment, so Tabcorp is not exactly desperate for cash.
“We are experiencing a strong recovery following the recent market challenges,” said Tabcorp Group chief executive David Attenborough. “The Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact Tabcorp’s group earnings in 1H21, with the retail closures and restrictions, especially in Victoria, having a material impact.
“However, we are pleased with the way our teams and partners responded to the substantial operational challenges the pandemic presented. Covid-19 has clearly demonstrated the importance of serving customers with a seamless, multi-channel experience. Investments made to modernize our digital offering in recent years drove significant benefits.”
Elsewhere, Entain has closed down Bwin’s Russian website, citing “rapidly changing realities and new legislative initiatives.” In order to “make Bwin’s withdrawal from the Russian market as comfortable as possible for all customers, we have reached an agreement with one of the industry leaders, Parimatch,” said the firm.
UK gambling operator Betway is gearing up for a US launch after signing a brand licensing agreement with supplier Digital Gaming Corporation (DGC). It will launch in 10 states, offering sports betting and online casino gaming.
DGC plans to use the Betway brand to offer pre-match and in-play sports betting on major United States and European sports leagues. It will have features such as cash out, partial cash out, live streaming and bet builder tools.
William Hill, Flutter Entertainment and Entain have already made great strides into the flourishing US market, while the likes of Bet365 and Betfred are starting to ramp up their focus on American operations. Betway will therefore be entering a competitive landscape, but the Betway brand has been strong in Europe and DGC clearly believes it has great potential Stateside.