GVC Holdings has changed its name to Entain after gaining 100% shareholder approval for the motion. The rebrand reflects the firm’s ambition to become “the world leader in sports betting and gaming entertainment”. Entain owns Ladbrokes, Coral, Bwin, Sportingbet, PartyPoker, FoxyBingo and several other brands, while it has an ambitious joint venture, BetMGM, with MGM Holdings in the United States.
“We are firmly on track to take further leadership in the US market, as well as in many other newly regulated markets that are now opening around the world,” said chief executive Shay Segev, who replaced long-time leader Kenneth Alexander in the summer. “At the heart of our growth strategy is a determination to bring the best player experiences and protections to our industry as technology moves sport and interactive entertainment into a new era. In the U.S., we invested in creating the right building blocks for the BetMGM platform to grow and become a long-term leader in the U.S., with superior technology and capabilities, and this is now paying off.”
Entain has pledged to invest £100 million over five years in the Entain Foundation, which will fund responsible gaming initiatives and support people and communities around the world. In the UK, it will offer grants for 228 football clubs in the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues. There are also measures in the US, Germany and Australia.
High street bookmakers have been urged to repay the business rates relief they received during the lockdown after online betting boomed. Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Pets at Home and B&M are among the major retailers to repay Covid business relief after they all enjoyed surging sales during 2020.
MPs have now called upon the likes of Entain and Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment to follow suit. Both firms reported strong online betting handle growth this year, and MPs say they should not benefit from relief designed to prop up struggling brick and mortar businesses during the difficult trading conditions of 2020.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Harm, said: “While so many bars, restaurants, pubs and shops fear for their survival, it’s only right that large bookmakers should pay this money back so it can be directed where it is needed most.” Esther McVey MP, leader of the Blue Collar Conservative group, added: “If you don’t need the Government handout then send it back, because there are plenty of people who will.”
William Hill has urged the UK government not to curtail the enjoyment of millions of casual punters when it conducts its sweeping review of British gambling laws this month. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading the review, which could overhaul every area of gambling law. The Guardian revealed that lawmakers will consider banning sports sponsorship and limiting online casino stakes.
William Hill chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson said the government should strike the right balance. “It is important the review is evidence-led, strikes the right balance between protecting the vulnerable and the continued enjoyment of the many tens of millions who happily place the occasional bet, as well as taking a critical look at the growing risks of the black market – where there are no consumer protections,” said Bengtsson in a statement provided to Gambling Insider. “We look forward to engaging with the Government throughout the review to ensure any new regulations work alongside progress made by our industry and provide clarity and certainty for customers, operators and all those who work in the sector.”
A Betfred customer is celebrated after winning £400,000 on a Lucky 15 bet at odds of 60,000/1. Neil Maher placed a £5 each-way Lucky 15, which requires four selections and includes four single bets, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold acca. All four of Maher’s selections proved correct, meaning both the win and place parts of the Lucky 15 paid out.
He made a flying start when Veux Lion Rouge won at 14/1, followed by Talking About You at 16/1, Beau Bay at 22/1 and Benson at 10/1. He now plans to marry his long-term partner in Cuba, invest in property and buy his sons some lavish Christmas presents.
Betfred boss Fred Done arranged for Neil to not only have a celebratory bottle of Champagne and a little taste of Cuba with a complementary cigar. He said: “Neil has got me on the ropes with this one, but let’s say I may have been floored but it’s only round one. Good luck and well done. You boxed clever and beat me fair and square. Your win included a £37,000 bonus from us with all four of your horses galloping home first.”