GVC Ushers in a New Era

By Martin Green21 July 2020
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GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander is stepping down after 13 years with the Ladbrokes Coral owner. He will hand the reins to chief operating officer Shay Sergev, and remain at the business for a short period in order to ensure a smooth transition. The business, which also owns Sportingbet, Bwin, Foxy Bingo and BetDaq, has transformed from an AIM-listed firm to a FTSE 100 global gambling conglomerate during Alexander’s time at the helm. “I have given 13 years to GVC and I now want to give some time to my family,” said Alexander. “I have spent the last four months working from home and reflecting on my future plans, and this feels like the right moment. Whilst it is never easy to hand the baton on, it has been very clear for a number of years now that Shay is the right person to succeed me.”

The news was presented alongside GVC’s half-year results, which showed net gaming revenue down 11% year-on-year. However, that was all down to its retail betting shops, as online revenue increased 19%. First-half earnings were expected to be in the range of £340 million to £350 million. Sergev joined GVC as chief operating officer in 2016 as part of its takeover of Bwin. He previously served as chief strategy officer at Gala Coral and chief operating officer at software provider Playtech. Sergev praised Alexander’s leadership and said he is taking over a business in robust financial health, with plenty of opportunities in the burgeoning US betting sector. “Our strategy will continue to be focused on our industry-leading technology, brands, products, marketing capabilities and people, as well as being absolutely committed to making gambling as safe and enjoyable as possible for our customers around the world,” he said.

William Hill is among the firms that plan to turn down UK government grants for bringing back furloughed staff. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said every British business that brings back a furloughed member of staff and keeps them employed until January will receive a £1,000 grant per employee. However, Primark, John Lewis and William Hill drew praise for turning down the offer at a time when the government’s coffers are pretty empty. “The company removed its employees from government employment support schemes in the UK and Europe in line with the reopening of the majority of its store,” said a Primark spokesperson. “The company believes it should not be necessary therefore to apply for payment under the Bonus scheme in current circumstances.”

Betfred has extended its sponsorship of the Professional Darts Corporation’s World Matchplay Darts event until 2022. The bookmaker announced the extension on the eve of the 2020 tournament. Betfred first sponsored PDC’s second-oldest tournament in 2019, when Rob Cross secured victory and walked off with a £150,000 prize. “I’m delighted to be extending our sponsorship of the Betfred World Matchplay and would also like to thank the PDC and Sky Sports for their outstanding efforts in getting this year’s tournament on despite the obvious challenges,” said Betfred boss Fred Done. Betfred makes Michael van Gerwen the 13/8 favourite to win the tournament, a market-leading price, while Gerwyn Price and in-form Peter Wright are both 13/2. Cross is out at 22/1 if you think he can repeat the feat he achieved last year. Betfred will give you half the odds on the place if your selection finishes runner-up on an each-way bet. Michael Smith has proved a popular selection at 22/1.